More households are falling into energy debt according to research from Consumer Focus.
Four in every ten people had higher energy bills for winter despite the mild conditions as price cuts came into effect too late to save household’s money.
January saw annual energy bills about £180 higher than the prior year leaving many households unable to pay.
1. Contact your energy firm immediately as they have a responsibility to help you. Debts will build-up and be harder to pay off the longer you leave them.
2. Tell your energy supplier what you can afford to pay - they have to take this into account in agreeing repayments of the money you owe.
3. Ask your energy company, your local Citizens Advice Bureau or call the Home Heat Helpline 0800 33 66 99 to find out about other free energy help available. Some people can qualify for a bill discount or free insulation to reduce energy consumption.
4. Consider switching to a cheaper deal with your current supplier, which can be done even if you are in debt. If you pay by cash, cheque or prepayment meter this can be done. If you pay by pre-payment meter and have less than £200 of debt you can also switch to a cheaper deal with another supplier.
5. Financial help is available so check you are receiving all of the benefits and tax credits you are entitled to by getting in touch with your local Citizens Advice Bureau.