Following the recent energy price cap rise announcement, which is set to see average bills soar by 54%, Martin Whitfield MSP is highlighting sources of advice and support for constituents in South Scotland who are struggling to pay their bills.
While the rise is going to exacerbate the growing cost-of-living crisis and push many more households into fuel poverty, there is a range of help, advice and support available, including various sources of funding, especially for the most vulnerable consumers.
Energy regulator Ofgem, which is responsible for decisions on the energy price cap, has provided information to MSPs on the potential support available to customers, but advice agencies such as Advice Direct Scotland and Citizens Advice Scotland are also providing independent advice and information.
Commenting on the support available, Martin Whitfield MSP said:
“The energy price cap rise announcement will be a devastating blow for thousands of households across South Scotland, pushing many more into fuel poverty. While the reports of such huge rises in energy bills will be deeply concerning for many, especially those on low or fixed incomes, it’s important to remember there is help available.
“One source of help is Advice Direct Scotland’s £3million Home Heating Support Fund to help Scots struggling with their energy bills. This is open until 31 March and applications can be made on behalf of individuals by ‘referral partners’ (e.g. local authorities, housing associations, charities providing debt/energy advice).
“Alternatively, individuals can contact Advice Direct Scotland for free on 0808 800 9060 or visit www.advice.scot, and trained advisers can assess their eligibility and refer them if appropriate. Advice is also available from Citizens Advice Scotland or local CABs who can check what other financial assistance consumers might be eligible for.
“I’ll continue to highlight information about sources of help with energy bills and other household costs. I’ll also keep campaigning for more measures to support consumers and fix our broken energy market to help keep bills low in the future.”
Further information on help with bills can be found at www.ofgem.gov.uk/helpwithbills