UK households in £100m energy debt

19th October 2016 | Residential Energy

UK households have an energy debt of about £100m, with the average household in the UK is in arrears with their electricity and gas bills, owing their suppliers on average £121.20.

A research study by found that only 13 per cent of those struggling to pay their energy bills had contacted their supplier to discuss their situation and ask for help. Over 1,280 homeowners were included in the survey and the results were that five per cent of homeowners owe their energy supplier money, on average £121.20. 16 per cent in debt owe £300 or more, and 4 percent confessed to not knowing how much they owe.

When asked what, if any, action they had taken with regards to their outstanding payments:
• 16% said they generally ignore the debt in the hope it will sort itself out over time
• 16% said their energy supplier had been unsympathetic
• 16% said they had been able to agree a repayment plan with their energy provider
• 20% feel under pressure from their energy supplier to repay their arrears.

In addition, the survey showed that 17 per cent of homeowners who were in debt to their energy supplier would like to switch, but think their arrears prevent them from doing so. However, according to Ofgem, customers with outstanding debts may be able to switch energy tariff or supplier, which may help them in paying off their existing debt. Those who have been with their supplier for less than 28 days can still switch, with outstanding debt added to their final bill from their old supplier. And customers who have been in debt to their supplier for more than 28 days, will need to repay the debt before being allowed to switch.

Energy suppliers cannot prevent a customer from switching if the debt has resulted from a fault on their behalf.

And although it is possible to save several hundred pounds by switching suppliers, more than 60 per cent of homeowners have never tried to switch supplier, according to Ofgem.

More information available on the website below