A local MP is urging people who are struggling with energy bills to seek expert advice, as new research highlights many people are not aware of the help that is available.
Madeleine Moon, Labour MP for Bridgend, said that debt charity Christians Against Poverty warns that personal debt can affect all areas of a person’s life causing loss of sleep, putting a strain on relationships, leading to poor physical and mental health – and even risking their home and livelihood.
Seeking help sooner rather than allowing debt problems to develop and escalate is the best way to reduce these negative consequences, says the charity.
Mrs Moon said: “January can be a financially difficult time for many so I’d strongly advise anyone who is worried about their energy bills to get help and advice by calling their energy supplier or seeking help from a debt counselling charity like Christians Against Poverty. Its helpline can be reached on 0800 328 0006.
“There is lots of help out there – so there’s no need to feel alone or let bills build up.”
Christians Against Poverty offer face-to-face support at home while negotiating with creditors on behalf of their client. The charity helps everyone for free, regardless of age, gender, faith or background.
British Gas in addition to its partnerships with Christians Against Poverty and StepChange, offers direct help to customers who are having difficulty paying their bills, with interest-free debt repayment plans.
They also make referrals to the British Gas Energy Trust (BGET) helping people with debt problems through grants and expert advice. In some cases, BGET will clear a customer’s arrears completely. Contact BGET on 01733 421 060 or visit www.british gasenergytrust.org.uk for more information.
British Gas advisers will also check to see whether a customer is eligible for grants such as the Warm Home Discount, and offer access to energy-saving measures. British Gas has also registered 1.5 million of its customers on the Priority Service Register, which offers additional help for disabled or chronically ill customers and those of pensionable age.
To find out more, call 0800 048 0404.