Up to 14% of UK households owe energy suppliers 464 million pounds
Nearly four million households (14%) are currently in debt to their energy supplier, consumers owing, collectively, an estimated £464 million, new research carried out by online market comparison service uSwitch has revealed.
Figures obtained from this report point out that the average household energy bill is £53 a year higher than at the beginning of last year, while a third of those in debt (33%) owe more than they did a year ago.
Furthermore, 25% of households simply ignore their debt in the hope that the amount they owe will go down naturally over time, while one in five households in debt or arrears (21%) intend to pay it off with a lump sum and 43% plan to increase their direct debit. However, worry over mounting debt is leading almost one in ten (9%) to seek a repayment plan with their energy supplier.
Ann Robinson, Director of Consumer Policy at uSwitch.com, says: “Millions of households are in debt to energy suppliers and the amount they each owe has risen. This is a clear indication of the extreme pressure families are under to meet the rising cost of energy. The average household energy bill is £53 a year dearer than a year ago. For many consumers, the only thing that has kept this particular wolf from the door is the fact that this winter has been exceptionally mild.”
“Those in energy debt can face a catch-22. Despite knowing they could reduce their bills by moving to a cheaper energy plan, many see debt as a barrier to switching. With a difference of over £300 between the cheapest and most expensive tariff on the market, consumers cannot afford to have this avenue closed to them. This is why it’s so important to provide regular meter readings to suppliers as relying on estimated bills can be a shortcut to debt.
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