Thousands Call For Help Amid Energy Price Hikes
More than 30,000 people have contacted the Citizens Advice Bureau in the 13 days since the first energy firm sparked the latest round of price hikes.
The soaring number represents a 55% increase on the number of consumers normally seeking advice about the best power deals.
Since SSE announced its rise on October 10, British Gas, npower and Co-op Energy have all raise their prices.
On Thursday Scottish Power became the fourth of the "Big Six" energy firms to announce it will raise its prices, with a 8.5% increase for gas and 9% for electricity from December 6.
Citizens Advice Chief Executive Gillian Guy said: "The huge number of people seeking advice since the price hikes started is a barometer of consumer fear about energy bills.
"Barely a day goes by without the bad news of another energy price increase. Price rises, just as temperatures start to drop, means people will see their bills this winter soar. Households are finding it really difficult to cope with the increases in cost of living."
The Scottish Power increase will add another £113 to the typical annual dual fuel bill.
The Spanish-owned company said more than one third of its 2.2 million residential customers will not be affected by the price rises as they were on fixed or capped tariff deals.
Neil Clitheroe, ScottishPower's chief executive of energy retail and generation, said: "The cost of purchasing and delivering energy to homes across Britain has risen significantly this year.
"With an increase in costs for delivering compulsory schemes to reduce carbon emissions and improving energy efficiency in homes, we unfortunately have no other option than to pass these on by increasing our prices for customers."
The rises have generated anger from the public and politicians, as families' net earnings have stayed flat and inflation has stayed low.
The hikes have increasingly become a political issue, with Labour saying they will freeze prices for a period if they get into power.
The Conservatives have said they expect prices to come down as they increase the amount of competition in the market and review taxes.
On Wednesday David Cameron announced a roll-back of green taxes which should see bills fall.
On Sunday, the Archbishop of Canterbury waded into the row describing the latest wave of rises as "inexplicable".
Shadow energy and climate change secretary Caroline Flint said: "This latest price rise is a slap in the face for hard-pressed consumers.
"While David Cameron dithers people are being left out of pocket because of the Government's failure to stand up to the energy companies."
But Energy and Climate Change Secretary Edward Davey said: "With 15 independent energy suppliers to choose from outside the Big Six, it's surprising that these companies think they can keep getting away with bill hikes of this magnitude."