Great Britain
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Households owe £1.3bn to energy suppliers even before bills are set to double this winter

Households already owe their energy providers £1.3bn two months before bills jumped by more than 80%.

Overall debt has already tripled from what he was a year ago, Uswitch experts said Wednesday, and could increase further over the winter. seems expensive.

Her six million households across the UK owe an average of £206 to their energy providers, according to the company's research. Average debt in April was £188.

Usually at this time of year people pile up small war funds to even out the bills that have increased over the winter.

The regulator's Ofgem is expected to raise the energy bill cap for the average UK household to £3,582 annually from the beginning of October, according to new projections.

Analysts at Cornwall Insight predicted that he would rise to £4,266 in January, rising further to £4,427 from early April.

"Energy debt hit a record high at the worst possible time, and this winter's energy price hike has created a very precarious situation for many households," said Justina, Uswitch's head of policy. Miltienyte said.

“This is a worrying situation because summer is traditionally a time when homes use less electricity for heating, and it is difficult for bill payers to build up energy credits in advance of winter.

Debt charity StepChange said energy companies are advising an unprecedented number of people to contact the Advice Line.

“Energy bills are an increasingly common driver of debt among StepChange clients. It was an energy company," says Richard Lane. StepChange's Head of Foreign Affairs:

"The new energy price cap forecast that average bills will reach over £4,200 in the new year is devastating news for millions of households.

 “Planned cost-of-living payments will help absorb some of the price increases, but additional pressure from governments, regulators and energy companies will Intervention is essential to prevent people from relying on credit to make a living. Whether it's leaving the heat on or feeding the family, we have to make unthinkable choices." 47}

Citizens Advice said they hear daily from people who can't afford to turn on lights or cook hot meals for their children.  

"The government has done the right thing by providing targeted support, but it is not enough for people to manage these previously unthinkable price increases. No,” said Morgan Wilde, head of citizen advice. of policy. “Obviously we start with increasing benefits to keep up with the cost of living. There is no time to waste.”

A Uswitch study found that 8 million households had no credit balance and suffered winter misery. This means that there is no buffer for difficult situations.

Nearly 1 in 5 (18%) said they were worried that suppliers would force prepaid meters if they were late paying their bills but 38% said they didn't know their suppliers could do it. this.

"If you are behind on your bill payments or your energy account is in debt, talk to your provider as soon as possible," she said.

Energy companies have a duty to help struggling customers find solutions. For example, coming up with a more affordable payment plan. You may also be eligible for additional support, such as hardship funds and other energy help schemes.

Ms Miltientye added: “Governments also need to take their energy debt seriously for the winter. They need to agree on a priority for larger assistance packages for vulnerable households.”

Customers save bills. There are several ways to do this. One of the easiest ways her is to reduce the temperature of the condensing her combi her boiler stream. Doing this will allow your boiler to run more efficiently and save you about £200 on your average utility bill.

Another easy way to save money is to turn off the boiler's preheat mode. This means that hot water taps take longer to heat up, but can save you hundreds of pounds a year. You are eligible for additional support.