'Almost 4m households' in debt to energy provider

Almost four million households owe their energy supplier money, with most in debt to the tune of £128, a study has shown. A third of those in debt owe more than they did a year ago while 9% owe less, the poll from uSwitch found.

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Goverment 'doing everything' to keep energy bills down

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:

The Government is doing everything within its power to help hard-pressed families keep their energy bills down.

In December we announced plans that will save customers around £50 on their energy bills, protecting support through the ECO scheme for vulnerable households, extending the scheme for an extra two years, and making an additional £450 million to make Britain's homes more energy-efficient.

– Spokeswoman for the Department of Energy and Climate Change

'One quarter of households' in debt ignore bills

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.

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'Almost 4m households' owe money on energy bills

Almost four million UK households are in debt to their energy provider, owing an average of £128 per home, according to a uSwitch survey.

Energy bills are now £53 a year more expensive, uSwitch said. Credit: PA

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."

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