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The Government has said it is "doing everything within its power" to help keep energy bills down for families struggling with mounting debt.
A spokeswoman for the Department of Energy and Climate Change said:
A quarter of households in debt to their energy provider are choosing to "turn a blind eye" to their mounting bills in the hopes the bill will decrease in time.
According to a uSwitch survey carried out by YouGov:
- A further 21% intend to pay off their debt with a lump sum.
- Some 43% said they would increase their direct debit.
- Worry over mounting debt also lead as many as one in 10 customers to seek a repayment plan with their energy supplier.
Almost four million UK households are in debt to their energy provider, owing an average of £128 per home, according to a uSwitch survey.
Despite the mild winter, 14% of the households which owe money have seen their debt increase by £5 on last year, following a series of price hikes, the energy comparison company said.
The average household energy bill is now £1,265 a year, £53 more than a year ago and £793 or 168% higher than in 2004.
A third of those in debt owe more than they did a year ago while 9% owe less, the survey found.
Ann Robinson, uSwitch director of consumer policy, said: "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."