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UK consumers are now half a billion pounds in debt to energy suppliers

Are you one of the four million households that owe money to an energy company?

If you’ve recently ended up with a large sum of money owed to your energy supplier, then you’re not alone. This year almost 4,000,000 UK households have emerged from the bitter winter period in debt to their energy supplier.

Research recently compiled by uSwitch on UK energy debt reveals how, on average, more consumers owe more money to their supplier than in 2014.

UK energy debt

Despite an increase in the average disposable income for consumers, and a big six energy tariff reduction averaging at £28, it’s clear that people are still struggling to take control of their energy bills.

Avoid being an energy debt statistic

Keeping warm and fed throughout Winter is always more straining on estimated bills, with suppliers not knowing exactly what customers are using during this peak time of year.

Additionally, increased usage such as staying home more, may seem insignificant, but can drastically increase your bill without you initially knowing.

Send meter readings twice a year or more to your supplier — this can help them adjust your bill more precisely to cover the Winter period or any changes of circumstance. Cranking up the heating if you think you can afford to is a luxury, but can often result in a shock bill later in the year.

Ann Robinson, Director of Consumer Policy at, believes there are preventative steps consumers can take to avoid owing money to suppliers:

‘Consumers can take control of their energy use by making sure their home is as energy efficient as possible and checking that they’re on the most competitive tariff.

‘It’s also important to provide regular meter readings to your supplier, as relying on estimated bills can be a shortcut to debt.

‘Anyone who is concerned about their ability to pay should contact their supplier, or a debt charity, sooner rather than later to discuss their options.’

Read more

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  • D Woods

    Try contacting the co-op energy since they changed their website. The site was so easy to use before they changed it now can’t even send in meter readings.

    • talldroll

      I agree entirely. An absolute waste of space since they ‘improved’ their IT system!

      • Ian Worth

        Scottish power has been the same, hence us leaving them for a different supplier!

        • talldroll

          ….. which is why I left them last September for Cooperative Energy.
          So, if things aren’t sorted by my anniversary date, I’ll have to move again!

          • Ian Worth

            EON energy appears to have been fair I must admit. Scottish power screwed our account up big style IT issues lol. Tried to charge us with estimated bills etc even though we’d left. Spent many of an happy hour on hold to them…Never again

  • john

    We are with NPower dont know why they have always messed with us had direct debit paid regular for over two years at £81,now they have cancelled my direct debit and informed me I owe them £990

  • Anna

    D Woods, talldroll, Ian Worth – I have had exactly the same problem! I was with EON for many years, user-friendly website and they would answer your call and sort any problems out there and then. I only switched after my last contract ended and they were no longer competitive. I switched to SSE – customer service was dreadful – only had 2 bills from them and I switched as I no longer could deal with their dreadful attitude. Switched to the Co-op and they were great until they changed their system – difficult website, unable to view bills, unable to get through on the telephone and emails go unanswered…..I despair…