CAB sees increase in fuel debts

| October 21, 2009 | 1 Comment

The Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) said there is a growing increase in the number of consumers struggling with fuel debts.

During April to September 2009, the CAB in England and Wales reported a 46% increase in the number of clients with fuel debts compared to the same period a year ago.

David Harker, chief executive of CAB, said: “We are already seeing large increases in the number of people in fuel debt and it is not yet winter.”

Average fuel bills are now at record highs - primarily due to the surge in wholesale gas prices in the last few years, which is pushing up the number of people in fuel poverty. A year ago the number of households in fuel poverty in England had risen to 4 million, a sharp rise from the 1.2 million reported in 2004.

Anyone spending over 10% of their household income on heating their homes are said to be in fuel poverty.

According to Ofgem, the average annual household gas bill more than doubled from £365 in September 2000 to £804 in September 2009.

Furthermore, the average annual household electricity bill rose by almost 50% to £443 from £299.

Ofgem warned earlier this month that fuel bills are set to grow by a further 60% between now and 2016.

The CAB advises shopping around for the best deal and compare suppliers - this might cut costs. Ask about different tariffs and ways to pay and make sure prices quoted include VAT.

Furthermore, the Bureau suggests talking to your existing supplier to check whether you are on the best tariff.

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  1. Judith Moore says:

    I have seen a large increase in my clients not being able to pay their household bills, and the fear of winter is making a few people take drastic and sometimes avoidable mistakes.

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