Shocking report highlights the financial struggle to pay priority debts
A report commissioned and released by Uswitch shows that one in five UK households are struggling to meet their payments to their gas or electricity supplier. This has resulted in 20% of households In the UK owing money to their gas or electricity supplier.
The Uswitch research found that 5 million homes were struggling to pay their energy supplier on time. This is up 1 million in 1 year and the total debt has risen by another £159 million, to £637 million.
1 in 10 people said a payment plan would help them get back out of debt. 2% of people will move to a prepayment meter. The prepayment meter is the most expensive way to receive gas and electricity.
Gas and Electricity - Priority Debt
Your energy supplier is considered to be a priority debt - a debt which should be paid first before any unsecured debt. This is the same as mortgage/ rent, council tax and food. These are all priorities to stay healthy and safe.
Many people we help at Debt Support Trust tell us they can't pay the gas and electricity because of their unsecured debts. The unsecured debts are usually more threatening, with telephone calls, letters and sometimes debt collectors turning up demanding payment. This often means priority debts are not paid.
Advice on Paying Gas and Electricity
There are a number of things you can do if you have gas and electricity debts to your energy supplier.
The most important step is the first step - speak to your energy supplier. You're not alone in worrying about your debt so they can help you.
Secondly, it's important to repay the debt. This can be managed in a monthly payment plan. If you owe £600 it can be daunting to repay that amount in one go, but you don't have to. Speak to your energy company and offer them an affordable amount each month. If you are unemployed then they may be happy to accept as low as £1 per week.
Thirdly, if you are not paying your gas or electricity because you are paying credit cards, overdrafts, payday loans or any other type of unsecured debt, then give us a call. Our charity advisors can help. There are debt solutions which can deal with unsecured debt and help resolve your financial worries. If you need help with debt problems please telephone 0800 085 0226.