Energy debt growsFriday, 20 April 2012 09:25
More households are falling into debt due to rising energy bills.
According to research from Consumer Focus four in every ten people had higher energy bills for winter despite the mild conditions.
Many homes recorded less energy consumption than the same time last year but were hit with higher tariffs.
Most energy firms have cut prices but these did not come into effect until late winter.
This resulted in the average annual amount of energy cost at the start of January seeing an additional £180 on top of the price recorded the prior year.
“With energy price cuts and less heating used because of the mild weather, most people will have expected their winter energy bill to be lower this year,” chief executive of Consumer Focus Mike O'Connor said
“So higher winter bills may come as a nasty shock that many customers simply can't afford.”
Those who pay by cash, cheque or prepay are the worst affected by energy debt.
About 48 per cent of consumers plan to make cut-backs in order to afford their energy bill, but this jumps up to six in every ten people with a prepay meter.
If this trend continues Consumer Focus forecasts that one third of people will be unable to pay their energy bills.