PIP: Man ‘left without money’ after his energy bills more than tripled | Personal finance | Finance


Graham lives in the UK, but cannot work due to several health issues, so receives both PIP and Universal Credit. Living alone, he struggled to pay his energy bills which amounted to £50 a month.

However, those have now more than tripled and he is extremely worried about how he will fare.

Graham told Citizens Advice: ‘I’ve had my provider take payment on a certain day to make sure there’s money in my account, but they take it whenever they want.

“When I try to call them, it’s so hard to reach anyone. And if I do, they’re basically saying there’s nothing they can do.

“There were several times when they left me with no money. That means I either had to contact my bank to get the money back or go to the food bank.

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The average wait time on the phone to speak to a supplier is now around six and a half minutes, compared to just under four minutes at the same time a year earlier.

Businesses were also found to be slower to respond to emails, responding on average to 62% of correspondence within two days, compared to 66% during the same period in 2021.

Citizens Advice says standards have dropped since June 2021, with millions of customers deciding to switch to new providers due to their own provider failing.

Energy suppliers need to help people who can’t pay their bills, but many suppliers have been struggling with increased demand over the past year.

The charity warned that without swift action to tackle poor customer service, standards will only get worse.

This could create chaos in the winter, when energy bills are expected to rise even further.

Dame Clare Moriarty, chief executive of Citizens Advice, said: “At a time when customers need all the support they can get, it is worrying that the performance of the service is the worst on record. It leaves people frustrated and in the dark on the phone.

“For many low-income families, life will become even more difficult when the price cap rises again in October, despite government support.

“We recognize that call center staff are working incredibly hard to answer as many calls as possible, but energy companies need to do better.

“This should include improving support services for those most in need. Ofgem must ensure that suppliers comply with the rules and take action if necessary.

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