Demand for advice on energy has increased 61% since last year, Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS) has said.
The organisation’s data report for May shows its network has seen a continuous rise in the number of people seeking guidance as households face another increase in energy prices.
Experts have predicted the energy price cap could rise by a further £1,000 in October, which would see annual bills hitting nearly £3,000.
CAS also reported a 21% increase in requests for advice on finance and charitable support – of which a significant proportion will be food bank referrals – and 47% growth in demand for online advice regarding work when compared to May 2021.
Stephanie Millar, social justice spokeswoman at CAS, said it is unlikely the need for advice will slow down in the near-future, warning a “lasting impact” will result from the cost-of-living crisis.
Ms Millar said: “Across the Citizens Advice network we are now seeing a pattern of big increases in demand for advice around energy compared to last year.
“With estimates this week suggesting another huge rise in the price cap in October, it seems unlikely that demand will slow down any time soon.
“The package of support announced in May will offer some respite, but we should be clear that this autumn, potentially thousands of people could be forced to choose between heating their home and feeding their family.
“There is also the lasting impact of this crisis to consider – the cost-of-living crisis could leave a legacy of debt and poverty for millions across the UK.
“What’s really important is that people seek advice to deal with soaring bills.
“CABs offer free, confidential and impartial advice and can really get results for people.
“We unlocked £147 million for citizens last year and those who saw a gain were on average £4,400 better off. That money could make a huge difference.
“People can also check www.moneymap.scot, which rounds up your online options to cut your costs and boost your income.
“Either way, we’d encourage anyone to see what sort of support is out there for them.”
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