By Marcus Leach

43% of people are worried they can’t afford their next fuel bill and one in two say energy bills will put a strain on their finances this year, according to new figures released today (Monday) from Citizens Advice at the start of its Big Energy Week which will help people save money on their fuel bills.

Big Energy Week (16-21 January 2012) will see advisers across country help people spend less on heating and powering their home. The Week is supported by Consumer Focus, Which?, Energy UK, energy companies, charities, accredited switching sites, Ofgem and the Government.

“We know hikes in prices have put extra pressure on people’s budgets at a time when money is already tight. Day in day out our bureaux helping people who can’t afford their fuel bills," Citizens Advice, Chief Executive, Gillian Guy said.

“We’re worried that some people are struggling unnecessarily because they’re not on the best deal; live in homes that haemorrhage heat or are not getting all of the financial help available to them.”

Last November eight times as many people came to Citizens Advice for online advice on cutting their fuel bills compared to the previous November. And in 2011 we helped clientswith over 96,000 fuel debt problems. The Big Energy Week survey also found:

- having the heating on less topped the list of what people are doing to cut energy bills (53%)
- one in three people don’t know that energy companies are offering help to insulate their home, rising to 46% in London.
- 71% of people who said their energy bills would put a strain on their finances this year also said they were worried they won’t be able to pay their next fuel bill.

“We know that a lot of households are struggling to cope with rising energy costs," Energy and Climate Change Secretary Chris Huhne said.

"Many people could cut their gas and electricity bills by moving to a better deal with their existing supplier, switching to another supplier altogether, or by taking up home insulation offers.

"But we need to make sure consumers are aware of this and make it easier for them to take action to save money. That is why I am backing Big Energy Week. We want to get the advice and information out to as many consumers across the country as possible.”
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