‘Terrifying!’ Brits lose £2,000 as benefits axed and prices soar in cost of living crisis

Families face “desperate choices” this winter as energy suppliers collapse and households lose their cheap deals, Citizens Advice is urgently warning. Many will also lose their Warm Home Discount when switching supplier, while the £20 a month Universal Credit cut planned for 6 October will add to the squeeze and rising inflation will hammer everybody, making Britons thousands of pounds poorer.

The collapse of Igloo Energy, Symbio Energy and ENSTROGA has left 233,000 customers waiting to find out who their new energy supplier is going to be.

This is on top of the 1.5 million hit by the recent collapse of seven other suppliers: Avro Energy, Green Supplier, Utility Point, People’s Energy, PFP Energy, MoneyPlus Energy and HUB Energy.

While regulator Ofgem guarantees your gas and electricity supply will continue without interruption, it cannot prevent bills from going through the roof.

Your new supplier could charge far more than your old one, while any cheap deals or fixed-rate tariffs will be lost for good.

The average household energy bill will soar by £30 a month, costing families a thumping £360 a year. As we reported yesterday, some will pay £600 more.

Those who lose Universal Credit and the Warm Home Discount will lose almost £2,000 a year in total, Citizens Advice said.

The charity warned of a “cost of living crisis” this winter, made worse by tomorrow’s £139 rise in the energy price cap, or £153 for those on prepayment meters.

Low income families will be shattered by a triple whammy of rising energy costs, the £20 a week cut to Universal Credit, and higher cost of living due to inflation. 

Worse, 1.1 million low income households could also lose the Warm Home Discount worth £140 a year if their energy company goes bust and it is not carried over to the new supplier.

Those who also claim Universal Credit stand to lose £37.40 a week in total if the planned cut is implemented.

This adds up to a thumping £1,945 a year, that families simply cannot afford to lose.

Many will face “desperate choices” this winter, including turning off their fridges and freezers, relying on hot water bottles for warmth and requesting support to buy extra duvets and blankets.

Single dad Shaun is one of millions who worries how he will pay his bills. “I’m terrified thinking about how I’m going to cope this winter,” he told Citizens Advice.

READ MORE: Millions lose cheap energy deals in gas supplier collapse.

As the cost of living crisis bites, Citizens Advice chief executive Dame Clare Moriarty is calling on the Government to reverse its planned cut to Universal Credit and introduce emergency winter grants for those on the lowest incomes.

“Overnight price hikes will be a shock for more than a million households whose energy companies have gone bust. 

“We’re particularly worried about those who’ll face desperate choices this winter because of the cumulative impact of soaring bills, the planned cut to Universal Credit and inflation.”

Moriarty said these could be delivered through local authorities in the same way Covid winter grants were last year.

Without support it will be a desperate winter for many.

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