20 November 2023

Almost half of people worried about winter energy bills, research finds

20 November 2023

Almost half of people in Scotland say energy bills are their biggest financial concern this winter, according to research released by Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS).

The charity has launched a new campaign called Worried This Winter to encourage people who are worried about energy bills to seek advice from the Citizens Advice network.

Based on analysis of YouGov polling on a sample size of 1,000, CAS research estimated 2.2 million people in Scotland, or 48% of adults, were worried about their bills.

The research also estimated more than 1.4 million are worried about not being able to heat their homes effectively over the winter.

We’ve faced the worst cost-of-living crisis in living memory and people have had their financial resilience worn down

Consumers can seek advice online or visit their local Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) or specialist services like the money talk team.

The average gain from energy-related advice across the network was more than £400.

Citizens Advice Scotland chief executive Derek Mitchell said: “As the weather turns cold, it’s perfectly understandable that people are worried about their energy bills and keeping their homes warm.

“We’ve faced the worst cost-of-living crisis in living memory and people have had their financial resilience worn down.

“Our new campaign says to people it’s okay to be worried this winter, because the CAB network is here to help you regardless of your background or circumstances, our advice is free, impartial and confidential.

“Lots of people may not realise that they don’t have to go to a CAB to get advice and information from our network. We have online self-help tools and advice pages that can help you see where you can cut your costs, boost your income and understand your rights with your energy supplier.

“We get real results for people, last year the average gain for energy advice was more than £400. People who saw a gain from advice more broadly were £3,700 better off.

“We’re for everyone – whether you are in work or not, own your home or not, whether you have kids or not. If you’re worried this winter, our network is here for you in a way that suits you.”

Scottish Government energy minister Gillian Martin said: “Energy bills remain significantly higher than this time two years ago, so campaigns like this are vitally important to ensure consumers are receiving the support they need.

“I would encourage anybody who is struggling with high energy bills or wider debt issues to contact the Citizens Advice network online or through their very experienced local network of bureaux.

“Last year, the Citizens Advice network helped many people access support they were entitled to and I hope this campaign can help them achieve the same this winter.”

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