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Increasing numbers of people missing energy bills

Increasing numbers of people are missing energy bill payments because they have run out of money before pay day, new analysis from Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS) reveals.

Analysis of polling for the charity by YouGov shows that in 2020 around 1 in 10 people (9 per cent) missed a gas or electricity payment because they had run out of cash before pay day in the past year.

By 2021 that number had soared by 44 percent to 1 in 7 (13 per cent).

CAS warned these figures may climb higher as households face higher energy costs this winter as a result of the price cap increase and ongoing turmoil in the energy market.

The charity is encouraging people to check advice to boost their incomes and potentially cut their bills.

CAS Senior Energy Policy Officer, Alastair Wilcox said:

“This increase is hugely worrying. 1 in 10 people unable to pay for their energy because of a lack of cash was unacceptable in the first place. That it soared to more than 1 in 7 during the pandemic shows the strain household budgets are under.

“Sadly, there is a very real risk these numbers will climb higher in the year to come, with energy prices increasing and the ongoing problems in the energy market. Many people with suppliers who have gone out of business may end up on higher tariffs, or lose access to the lifeline Warm Homes Discount.

“Help is at hand this winter from the Citizens Advice network. Our advice is free, impartial and confidential and you can get help from your local CAB or online.”

ENDS

NOTES TO EDITORS 

ll figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc.  The surveys were carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all Scotland adults (aged 18+). In 2020, 3,305 adults were surveyed between 21st Feb – 13th March. In 2021, 1,032 adults were surveyed between 20th – 25th May.

And in the last year, how often, if at all - gas or electricity

2020

2021

Change

Base: All Scottish Adults who have run out of money before pay day

1,044

312

 

Never

65%

65%

0%

Once or twice

18%

15%

-17%

3-6 times

5%

7%

40%

More than 6 times

4%

6%

50%

Don’t know/does not apply

9%

8%

11%