Energy debt on the up as a result of increasing fuel bills

Energy debt is on the up, according to consumer action group uSwitch. An annual study shows that customers owe more this year than last, at £131 on average. Ann Robinson, […]

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By Tom Gibson

Energy debt is on the up, according to consumer action group uSwitch. An annual study shows that customers owe more this year than last, at £131 on average.

Ann Robinson, Director of Consumer Policy at uSwitch said: “With households still struggling to absorb last year’s price hikes, energy debt is on the rise again.

“Although suppliers have cut their prices this year, the average reduction of £41 or 3.2% doesn’t come near the average increase of £224 or 21% seen since the end of 2010 – as a result consumers will continue to struggle to pay their bills and debt will continue to grow.”

According to the statistics, 35% of those in debt owe more than they did a year ago, while just 13% owe less. The average amount owed to suppliers has risen 15% from 2008, reflecting the 53% or £433 hike in the cost of energy seen since then.

Mrs Robinson added: “Those in energy debt can face a catch-22. Despite knowing they could reduce their bills by moving to a cheaper energy plan, consumers can see debt as a barrier to switching.”