With Zog energy being the 25th energy provider to go bust in a 3-month period and rising fuel prices, one UK charitable organisation is offering help and advice manage budgets and avoid people slipping into fuel poverty.

Will fuel increases and collapses drive fuel poverty?

Recent months have been a nightmare for many as several fuel companies collapsed. This combined with fuel price rises has some worried about fuel poverty in the UK. One debt charity in Swindon has pledged to provide courses and support for those at risk.

Gas Storage Tower

Wholesale collapse

In December, Zog energy became the 25th fuel company to collapse in a 3 month period. With companies closing so rapidly, many thousands of households were given a provider. While homeowners won't go without gas or electric, tariffs can and mostly are higher than existing tariffs.

Alongside the floundering firms is the expectation of rising prices. This usually comes when regulator Ofgem review the maximum price per year. Last year 15 million households saw an increase of 12% after the regulator updated the minimum.

The full list at time of publication:

  1. PfP Energy – September 2021
  2. MoneyPlus Energy – September 2021
  3. Utility Point – September 2021
  4. People’s Energy – September 2021
  5. Green - September 2021
  6. Avro Energy - September 2021
  7. Igloo Energy - September 2021
  8. Symbio Energy - September 2021
  9. ENSTROGA - September 2021
  10. Pure Planet - October 2021
  11. Colorado Energy - October 2021
  12. Daligas - October 2021
  13. GOTO Energy - October 2021
  14. Bluegreen Energy Services Limited - November 2021
  15. Omni Energy Limited - November 2021
  16. MA Energy Limited - November 2021
  17. Zebra Power Limited - November 2021
  18. Ampoweruk Ltd - November 2021
  19. CNG Energy - November 2021
  20. Neon Energy - November 2021
  21. Social Energy Supply - November 2021
  22. Bulb (in 'special administration' meaning it will continue as normal under administrators) - November 2021
  23. Entice Energy - November 2021
  24. Orbit Energy - November 2021
  25. Zog Energy - December 2021
  26. Together Energy and Bristol Energy - January 2022

With so many collapses, the British public are likely to be more vulnerable to rising prices. AYOM's Operations Manager Zoe spoke about the sheer volume and their impact. She told us: "We are no stranger to seeing companies, even large ones go under. Most of the time this is down to poor planning and risk management. While a pandemic could not be foreseen as it was, disaster planning should be in every business' long-term plans."

"With the recent price increases, it puts AYOM as debt collectors and mediators in a difficult role. We may soon be called upon. Called to both satisfy our customers and ensure repayment plans for those affected affordable. We must strike the right balance."

Image of notes and coins

Support for those at risk

Considering the struggles, one Swindon debt charity is helping balance budgets. The charity is hoping to help people live better on a limited budget. The organisers, Highworth Churches Together, have been working hard to be a helping hand. They form a local branch of the Christians Against Poverty cause.

Speaking to the media about their work, Centre Manager Kathryn Ford said:

"We're encouraging people to access help and support. Many of those we work with struggle to stay warm over the winter as it is. With the recent rises, this will make matters worse."

"It will especially affect anyone on prepayment meters straight away. Then, as bills come in through the year of course it will affect the tight budgets of many of our clients."

"But knowing where to get support, combined with some simple energy saving tips, can make a real difference."

The charity has lots of good advice for those managing budgets. It varies from visiting helpful sites like money saving expert to signposting charities.

Dealing with debts

A large part of our work at AYOM is negotiation. Our job is to find the best solution to suit all parties within reason. This means avoiding historic cliches about strongarming those that owe. Debts however, must be paid and this is where we can help. AYOM has tools to assess a person’s ability to pay. We also possess the skills to negotiate a reasonable timescale to do so.

This includes business and personal debts, covering rent arrears, unpaid invoices, work not complete and more. The most important aspect of our work is to avoid debt becoming “bad debt”. That is the stage in which debt become unpayable and problematic for all.

We have a team of experienced collectors who can ask important questions and build a relationship. Our online tools can locate and assess a person or business, getting a full picture of their financial health. This helps us trace absconded debtors or those trying to avoid talking. When we do make contact, we can argue from a position of strength knowing all the details.

If you are a business owner, landlord or have private debts which could benefit from mediation, get in touch. You can have a chat with one of our debt advisors who can explain what help is at hand today. To book a free consultation you can call 0800 130 3357 or email enquiries@ayom.co.uk.