MORE than £630 million is owed to energy companies as customers struggle to manage spiralling prices – with almost one in five households currently in debt to their supplier.
And half of the five million families who have not paid outstanding bills to their electricity and gas companies admit that their debt is now higher than it was a year ago, according to a new report by uSwitch.com.
Energy prices have rocketed in recent years. The typical household energy bill now stands at £1,353 a year – almost £100 more than a year ago and £831 more than at the start of 2004.
Despite the increase, the average debt per household has fallen by £8 to £123, the report discovered – although experts warned that the impact of this winter’s price rises, combined with the coldest March on record could see the figure shoot back up again.
“The soaring number of households in debt to energy suppliers is a clear indication of the pressure people are coming under just to meet the cost of their basic bills,” said Ann Robinson, director of consumer policy at uSwitch.com.