Auriga is expecting a surge in “help me” calls following today’s Ofgem decision to cap energy price rises at 54 per cent from April.

“Rocketing numbers of families have fallen behind with their energy bills since the start of the pandemic – and we are bracing ourselves for a new ‘debt time-bomb’ as costs continue to escalate,” said Mark Abrams, chief executive of Auriga Services, one of the UK’s leading providers of services to people in financial difficulties.

Ofgem announced today that customers on default tariffs paying by direct debit will see an average increase of £693 a year. Prepayment customers will see an increase of £708. The move will affect 22 million households.

“Rarely have there been more challenging times to support customers in vulnerable circumstances,” he added, “especially as the impact of Covid-19 has left so many families facing great hardship. “It is genuinely very worrying to hear that some of us are having to make the choice between living in a warm house or putting food on the table. This should not be happening in modern-day Britain. For the first time ever, utility bills have overtaken council tax as the number one reason people seek money advice.”

Mark Abrams added:  “It is good that the Chancellor is stepping in to help 28 million households with discounts and rebates but it won’t be enough to stop some people continuing to spiral further into debt.”

Against the background of more and more families under financial strain, Auriga last year launched Ask Bill, a consumer website which offers impartial and free advice on how to save money on every day household bills. It also provides information on what to do if consumers are struggling with water and energy charges and has all of the company’s individual schemes clearly listed and where to find more support if needed.

Auriga’s dedicated debt advice service offers help with bills and tariff switches as well as providing access to grant aid, advice on budgeting, representation at Appeals and Tribunal processes and so much more general assistance.

If you are looking to support your customers through the fuel energy crisis, visit our services page for more information.

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