Europe

Energy price hike has pay-as-you-go demand shoot up 140% as Brits beg for extra help

Energy bills: Chairman reveals 140% increase in calls for help

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Utilita chairman Derek Lickorish warned there are a number of things that the Government can do to help offer those suffering support, outlining the actions that should be taken. With increased costs to National Insurance of 2.5 percent and energy bills doubling in price, many Britons have been pushed into poverty as they are unable to financially afford the new extra costs. The energy company Chairman explained that the Utilita customer care team has seen an increase in calls from those on pay-as-you-go plans from 2000 a week to 5000.

Mr Lickorish told Today Programme: “I think there’s a number of things can that could be done.

“And the very first thing that we need to see is a very clear declaration by the Government of what it intends to do.

“All we’ve heard so far are some few warm words but the size of the problem, I think there’s a consensus across the industry that there are somewhere between eight to ten million households that will need about a thousand pounds to get them through this very very difficult period.

Mr Lickorish added: “And I know from our own company the impact that the price increase from the 1st of April along with the increase to national insurance that some customers have seen.

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“We’ve got a 140 percent increase in our call rates into our extra care team and that’s gone from 2000 a week which we would expect at this time of the year but it’s gone up to 5000 a week.”

BBC reporter Felicity Ward said: “Are you simply seeing people because so many of your customers are on pre-payment metres?

“Are you seeing that people simply are not topping up their metres because they simply can’t afford to?”

Mr Lickorish said: “There is indeed some of that, that is part of why we have an extra care team.

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“So that we can help these customers, we have a thing called a power-up which is a way in which customers can access vending in advance of paying for it.

“And this is to try and smooth their income in line with when they need to top up their metres and already this year we’ve made something like two million pounds worth of interest-free loans to those customers to help them through this difficult time.

“So yes there will be some self disconnection on top of that, and that’s why we need a substantial package to help these customers get through what is going to be the most difficult time in the history of the industry.”

The UK Government have announced the launch of a new plan to try and sort out the energy crisis, as a new report has found that a quarter of households around the country are struggling to pay the increased costs.

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Speaking to Express.co.uk exclusively, Energy Minister Greg Hands explained the various ways the UK Government was trying to resolve the energy crisis.

Mr Hands said: “We also recognise that tackling supply alone is not enough, which is why we are taking strong measures to reduce the British public’s demand for expensive gas, including providing £6.6billion in funding for energy efficiency measures like home insulation.”

Mr Hands added: “However, while we are taking bold action to enhance our energy security for the future, we recognise that households are facing pressures with the cost of living of now, which is why we have a £22bn package of support.

“This includes a £150 council tax rebate this month, and a £200 energy bill discount from October to cut energy bills quickly for the majority of households.

“Importantly, our Energy Price Cap remains in place which continues to insulate families from even higher global gas prices.

 “As ever, our priority is protecting the British public, so we will do everything we can to support them and our energy needs from today right through to the future.”

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