Charity suicide warning over soaring gas and electricity bills
Ian Preston, from the Center for Sustainable Energy in Bristol, said: “At least two or three times a week we talk to someone who is having suicidal thoughts.”
A charity hotline has given staff special suicide awareness training in response to rising gas and electric bills.
Ian Preston, from the Center for Sustainable Energy in Bristol, said: “At least two or three times a week we speak to someone who is having suicidal thoughts.
“A few years ago we would talk to someone maybe once a month. Now it happens regularly.”
An investigation by Channel 4’s Dispatches team, which will air on Monday, found bills aren’t just rising because of increases in global wholesale prices.
The cost of the program claims was also increased by the collapse of so many energy companies that were too inexperienced to be in the market.
Analysis of failed energy companies shows two-thirds of them never turned a profit, says Channel 4, with one company making a loss of more than £323m over six years.
And some of the 29 that collapsed were selling gas and electricity for less than they bought.
The hardest hit were the 2.7 million households whose suppliers went bust. Their bills went up by an average of £360.
Still, regulator Ofgem received several warnings about small suppliers eight years ago.
Citizens’ Advice’s Alex Belsham-Harris told the show: “If your company goes bust, Ofgem will select a new company to move into and that new company will have to start buying energy for you, which it hasn’t planned to do Has.
“That comes at a cost. The way they are protected is a levy on everyone else’s energy bills.”
Citizens Advice warned Ofgem of the pitfalls of opening up the energy market in 2013 to allow smaller suppliers to take on the Big Six of British Gas, EDF Energy, E.ON, Npower, Scottish Power and SSE.
Carla Hood, who lives in the North East with her young family, will need to find an extra £900 this year to help her electricity bills.
She said: “My husband and I turn off the heat at 7 a.m. as soon as the girls have gone to bed.
“We sit there at night with blankets over our knees, and that’s now.
“If the bills go up, I don’t want to have to do that when the girls are still up.”
Ofgem told the scheme: “We have diversified the market by opening up competition, which has resulted in significant benefits for customers.
“In 2019 we recognized the need for further checks on energy suppliers and introduced new entry regulations.
“However, we know there are lessons to be learned and in retrospect we would have gone further and faster with a more robust financial oversight and resilience regime.”
- Why are your energy bills so high? The programs will be shown tomorrow at 8 p.m. on Channel 4.
https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/politics/charitys-suicide-warning-over-soaring-26676490 Charity suicide warning over soaring gas and electricity bills