Energy debt in the UK up 24% since last year, according to survey

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7th November 2018 14:55 - Utilities

Energy debt in the UK up 24% since last year: The cost of running and heating our homes has taken a hike in the last twelve months, with the number of UK households in debt to energy suppliers rising by 300,000, according to a new survey.
The survey by uSwitch found 11% of the 2,032 polled owe an average of £134 to energy suppliers, which when looking at the bigger picture means three million consumers owe a collective amount of £400 million.
Where in previous years, energy users may have expected to be in credit after the warmer months and a reduced need to use gas and electric, the survey revealed that the overall debt to energy firms has increased by £75million since last autumn. 
This is causing worry to 41% of those questioned, especially as over a third (36%) felt they actually used less energy this year over the summer than they previously have done.
The figures show that the number of households in debt to suppliers has gone up by 12% since this time twelve months ago and 36% more than in 2016. 
This year, the headlines have been full of news about energy companies increasing their prices in response to costs at wholesale level. There have been 55 increases from 32 suppliers since January - which equates to adding on almost an additional £900 million to domestic bills annually. 
A spokesperson for uSwitch, Rik Smith said: 
"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.
“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.”

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