Uswitch research has found that in the wake of the ongoing energy crisis, the amount of money that households owe their energy supplier has doubled in the past year to £1 billion, with 23% now in debt to their supplier.
The number of households in debt to their supplier has risen by half (52%) compared to this time last year, with six million homes owing £188 on average to their energy provider. This number is over two million higher than at any point since 2018, and the average debt is 54% higher than it was in 2019.
While nearly 11 million households (38%) have a collective £1.4 billion in credit with their supplier, the overall figure is £500 million lower than in 2021, indicating that rising prices may have made it harder for people to build up a credit surplus. That said, those in credit should be better prepared for the expected price hikes in the autumn.
Justina Miltienyte, energy policy expert at Uswitch.com, said: “Higher prices over the winter has meant we are seeing many more people in energy debt at a time when they should be building up their credit again.
“This means that households across the country are likely to see their direct debits rise so they can begin to pay back what is owed, making it tough to prepare for future increases.
“The reality is that the situation is going to get far worse in October when we expect another price rise, so it’s important to take control of your energy use now.
“If you do not have a smart meter, record your meter readings regularly and submit them to your supplier so your bills are as accurate as possible.
“If you are in credit, it’s probably best to leave the money with your supplier to act as a buffer in the autumn and winter.
“If you are behind on your bill payments, or your energy account is going into debt, speak to your provider as soon as possible as they may be able to help you find a solution.”
Find out how you could save with Uswitch in the new cost-of-living hub here.