New research from uSwitch has uncovered £400 million in energy debt for 3 million UK households — this despite the hottest summer in more than 10 years.
At a time when energy customers should expect to be in credit, uSwitch has found that energy debt has increased by 24% over last year, with more than one in 10 bill payers in debt by £134 on average.
It's not just the amount of debt that has increased — the number of households in debt in the lead up to winter has jumped by more than 300,000 as well.
An unprecedented number of energy price hikes from suppliers likely had the biggest impact on this increase, putting ever-increasing pressure on households struggling to cover their bills.
“The soaring number of households in debt to their energy supplier is a clear indication of the pressure people are under just to make ends meet," says Rik Smith, energy expert at uSwitch.
“With winter just around the corner, it’s important that households use this time to tackle rising bills. After so many price rises this year a lot of people may have received a price rise notification over the summer but not switched to a cheaper deal.
Do what the price cap won't - fix your energy costs today
"Now is the time for consumers to take action, by making their homes more energy efficient or ensuring they don’t pay any more than they need to for the energy they use. For anyone struggling with their energy bills and worrying about keeping warm, there is help available. They should speak to their supplier as soon as possible about repayment plans and other assistance on offer, and find out if they’re eligible for Government support with energy bills."
If you're struggling with your energy bills, there is assistance available, from one-off payments during cold snaps to help paying for energy efficiency measures to annual discounts applied directly to your energy account. Find out more below: