'Don't be shy' asking for help to pay soaring energy bills

Pensioners in Shropshire have been told 'don't be shy' when it comes to seeking help to cope with the expected increase in fuel bills.

They are expected to be one of the groups hardest hit by an increase in the price cap expected in October of £3,400, a 70 per cent increase on the current figure .

And from January the cap could be set at £4,266 by Ofgem, a figure which will last at least three months according to independent management consultancy Cornwall Insight.

The price rises are expected to hit the most vulnerable in the county not least senior citizens, but Heather Osborne, the chief executive of Age UK Shropshire and Telford said it was never too late to reach out for help.

She said: "We have help and advice available whether it is on using smart meters, budgeting for the price rise or checking whether pension tax credits are available to help with the increase

"Advisers can also negotiate with the energy companies and make sure an individual is paying the right amount or help manage direct debits or payment plans - it is important for people to realise they are not on their own but they need to act soon.

"We also work with Marches Energy Agency, an independent charity that operates throughout Shropshire, The West and East Midlands and can give advice on grants, energy saving tips and tariff switching advice.

Craig Lowrey, principal consultant at Cornwall Insight said: "While our price cap forecasts have been steadily rising since the summer 2022 cap was set in April, an increase of over £650 in the January predictions comes as a fresh shock,"

"The cost-of-living crisis was already top of the news agenda as more and more people face fuel poverty - this will only compound the concerns.

Meanwhile North Shropshire Liberal Democrat MP Helen Morgan has called on the government to spare families from soaring energy bills by cancelling October’s increase.

Helen Morgan

The party have a plan to scrap the increase in the energy price cap with the government paying the shortfall to energy companies who would supply customers at the current rates. They estimate it would save a typical household in Shropshire £1,679.

Ms Morgan said: “Everyday I’m contacted by more constituents who are already struggling with daily costs and are now pleading for help to cope with the energy bill rise.

“From pensioners to parents to those living on their own, this is affecting people of all backgrounds in North Shropshire and across the country.

"People I speak to all have two things in common - they are worried for their families and they don’t believe the government is doing enough to help them.

“Those struggling can’t afford to wait for a new Conservative leader, they need policies that will put money back in their pockets now – starting with immediately cancelling the planned rise in energy bills.”

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