Over 30,000 people seek energy advice online after price hikes

The number of people seeking advice online about their energy bills have soared since the so called big six energy firms started to raise their prices…

The number of people seeking advice online about their energy bills have soared since the so called big six energy firms started to raise their prices.

Citizens Advice has confirmed it has seen a 55 per cent boost following the first price rise announced by SSE on October 10th.

British Gas and Npower quickly followed suit, which prompted more individuals to seek advice, and now Scottish Power has also done the same.

The company will rise its dual fuel prices by 8.6 per cent from December 6th 2013, with gas prices going up by 8.5 per cent and electricity prices by nine per cent.

Scottish Power was recently hit by an £8.5 million penalty for misleading doorstep and telephone sales and is now set to leave its customers with tough decisions at home.

As many as 30,118 people sought online advice about energy between October 10th and 23rd – before the Scottish Power announcement – compared to 19,436 during the 13 days prior to the price increases (September 26th to October 9th).

Calls to the Citizens Advice consumer service about energy bills have doubled in the same time period as people try to get their head around what they need to do.

Gillian Guy, chief executive at Citizens Advice, said the increase in people seeking advice since the price hikes started is "a barometer of consumer fear about energy bills".

"Price rises, just as temperatures start to drop, means people will see their bills this winter soar. Households are finding it really difficult to cope with the increases in cost of living,” he added.

There are now two of the big six energy firms left to make their move, EDF Energy and E.ON. Consumer groups are urging them not to follow suit but the likelihood is that they will, meaning people will have no choice but to pay the excessive bills.

Individuals and families are now being urged to locate the best deal for their energy as they could be severely impacted by the changes. Many are still lumbered with debt and owe utility firms money, and with these hikes their situation will become even worse.

By James Francis

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