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'Desperate choices' for Brits as monthly energy bills could soar by £30
30 September 2021, 00:15 | Updated: 30 September 2021, 00:23
Many people whose energy supplier collapsed could be left facing "desperate choices" as their energy bills could rise by almost £30 a month, Citizens Advice has warned.
The charity said that people may need to turn off their fridges and freezers, rely on hot water bottles for warmth and request support to buy extra duvets and blankets as people are hit with a double blow of increasing energy prices and a cut to Universal Credit.
Customers who are moved to a new energy firm after their supplier goes out of business stand to pay almost £30 a month more, the advisory service found, with people in this situation on Universal Credit standing to be £37.50 a week worse off.
The news comes as another three energy companies - Enstroga, Igloo Energy and Symbio Energy - went bust on Wednesday.
Even before that, as of Tuesday September 28, more than 1.5 million people had been affected by energy supply failures.
The energy price cap is due to rise by £139 for people on default tariffs and £153 for people on pre-payment meters on October 1.
A survey by the charity found 35 per cent of people are worried they will struggle to pay their energy bills this winter, rising to 45 per cent of those earning less than £21,000 a year and 44 per cent of households with children.
The advisory service said it was particularly concerned about those on lower incomes.
It also warned that those who lose their Warm Home Discount if it is not carried over when they are moved to a new supplier could be £17.40 a week worse off.
Citizens Advice is calling on the Government to reverse its planned cut to Universal Credit and introduce emergency winter grants for those on the lowest incomes.
"Overnight price hikes will be a shock for more than a million households whose energy companies have gone bust," said Chief executive Clare Moriarty.
"We're particularly worried about those who'll face desperate choices this winter because of the cumulative impact of soaring bills, the planned cut to Universal Credit and inflation.
"The Government and Ofgem must guarantee that the Warm Home Discount will be continued for people moving to new energy suppliers.
"People on the lowest incomes should be able to access emergency winter grants so they can stay warm in the cold months ahead."