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Fuel bills: '30 day rule' is only one step towards a fairer deal

29 Mar 2011

Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS) have welcomed OFGEM’s announcement today of a 30-day notice period before fuel companies can impose price hikes on consumers, but have warned that the cost of fuel itself must also be addressed.

CAS Chief Executive Lucy McTernan said,

“This measure will certainly make it easier for people to plan their finances, and to shop around to find alternative suppliers who will offer them a better deal. To that extent we welcome it. Anything that empowers the consumer has to be a good thing.

“However the problem that is really hurting people is the cost of fuel itself. More notice of price hikes will certainly help. But it doesn’t address the central issue, which is that the bills are too high and that far too many people simply can’t afford to pay them.

“Last year for example, Scottish CAB advisers dealt with 45 utility cases every day - a very high number. And the Scottish government has admitted that one third of households in Scotland are now in fuel poverty. This is not a minor issue. It’s a a huge problem, affecting people in every town, every street across Scotland.

“So, we are pleased that OFGEM are getting a grip on the industry. But measures like the one announced today – welcome though they are - must be seen as only one step on the road to getting a fair deal for Scotland’s hard-pressed consumers.”

For interviews etc., please contact Tony Hutson on 0131 550 1010.

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