HUNDREDS of Wearsiders are struggling to pay their energy bills as soaring prices take their toll.
The city’s Citizens Advice service is being bombarded with calls from people concerned about debt.
And many of those worried Wearsiders say rising energy prices are bleeding them dry.
Denise Irving, of Citizens Advice in Sunderland, said: “It is a prevalent problem at this time of year.
“A lot of people are on pre-payment schemes and just don’t have the money to meet their energy needs.”
This week, Citizens Advice and Sunderland-based housing group Gentoo have organised a series of events to show those struggling to make ends meet how they can cut hundreds of pounds from their energy bills.
As the rising cost of living continues to put pressure on household budgets, it’s hoped the drop-in events will help ease the burden.
Ms Irving said: “It’s actually much more costly to receive your energy in a pre-payment style, so we will be showing people what alternatives there are.”
The events form part of Big Energy Saving Week, running now.
The week is organised by Citizens Advice and supported by charities, the Government and the energy industry to help consumers check they are on the best deal, switch tariff or supplier and take up help to insulate their homes and reduce their energy usage.
By taking action to check, switch and insulate, Wearsiders could make savings on their bills.
Advisers from Citizens Advice, Gentoo and Age UK will be in shopping centres, housing offices and community centres in and around Sunderland to help residents find out how they can make sure they are not spending any more than they have to.
Susan White, of the advice bureau, added: “The rising cost of living means that more and more people are finding that their household budgets won’t cover day to day essentials.
“We’re keen to make sure that no one pays a penny more than they need to on energy costs.
“There are practical things that people can do to reduce their energy bills and help ease financial pressure.”
Concerned consumers can also get help and advice on saving cash online at www.bigenergysavingweek.org.uk.