Survey Finds Rising Number of Britons in Debt Due to Soaring Energy Prices

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9th April 2013 16:08 - Utilities

A new survey covering 2,000 Britons by comparison website uSwitch has discovered that an escalating and alarming number of households find themselves in debt to their energy supplier, thanks to unprecedented energy costs and an outstandingly cold winter.

As many as one in five households (20%) are in now debt to their energy supplier compared to 14% a year ago the study found - if these figures were extrapolated across the UK, it would equate to a total of 5 million households behind on their bills, totalling a collective national debt of £637m. This lies in contrast to last year when 4 million people were in debt, adding up to £159m.

To try and address the problem,  one in 10 respondents said they planned to clear their utility debt by setting up a repayment plan with their supplier, while 2% said they planned to install a prepayment meter which is typically the most expensive way to pay for energy.

Director of Consumer Policy at uSwitch.com, Ann Robinson, commented: "The fact that a million more households have fallen behind in the last year so that over five million are now in debt to suppliers tells us everything we need to know about the impact of sky-high energy prices."

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