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Winter energy saving campaign launched as Citizens Advice Scotland probe finds one in three can't afford fuel bills

By Val Sweeney

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A BIG Energy Saving Winter campaign has been launched by Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS) as new research found more than one in three people cannot afford their fuel bills.

It has described the findings as “unacceptable” and is encouraging people to seek advice to help tackle rising bills.

The poll, carried out for CAS by YouGov, found 36 per cent of people could not afford their fuel bills.

Of these, 80 per cent cited rising energy costs as a reason, with 65 per cent saying the rising cost of living was a problem.

Meanwhile, 40 per cent said low incomes was an underlying problem, with 24 per cent stating their home being hard to heat was a factor.

The CAS said people face a “perfect storm” this winter, with rising energy bills following the increase of the energy price cap, the crisis in the energy market seeing some suppliers go out of business, and falling incomes for people on Universal Credit.

The organisation’s Fair Markets spokesperson Kate Morrison said: “The fact that one in three people find their energy bills unaffordable is unacceptable, and what this research shows is that the underlying reasons can be varied and complex.

“From rising inflation and increased bills, to low incomes and homes that are hard to heat, people are struggling this winter – and these problems are likely to last well into 2022.

“The crisis in the energy market also means that some routes to lower bills simply aren’t available. For example, switching supplier will likely just lead people to a higher tariff.”

She said the CAB network could help people by checking if they were entitled to any benefits or grants, and talking to their energy company and restructuring any debt repayments as well as looking at better insulation which can help save money.

Information can be found at www.cas.org.uk/besw.

Home Energy Scotland also offers free and impartial advice on saving energy and information about available funding. They can be called for free on 0808 808 2282 or by visiting www.homeenergyscotland.org.

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