Consumer expert Martin Lewis said the energy bill national crisis is on the same scale as the Covid pandemic. It comes as comparison site Uswitch suggests many households are already falling behind on energy payment. At the same time, consultancy Cornwall Insight warned energy bills could more than double come January.
There are two main reasons households end up falling in debt to their energy supplier. The first occurs if the direct debit they use to pay for energy is set below the amount to cover the actual energy being used. In this case, contact your supplier to avoid a sudden bill increase and to provide accurate meter readings.
The second, as suggested by the Uswitch survey, is simply falling behind on payments, with many households not having a credit balance to cushion against the expected bill increases this summer. As before, it is recommended to speak to your supplier to work out a more affordable payment plan. Taking action is important in order to be eligible for extra legal help that forces suppliers to work through as many options as possible and to ensure you don't find yourself cut off when you need energy most.
Energy regulator, Ofgem, is expected to rise the price cap on the maximum amount suppliers can charge customers at the end of the month with some estimates of annual of £4,200 in January
In May, the government announced a package of support, including a £400 discount on energy bills for all UK households, and an addition £650 for those on low income. However, speaking on BBC Radio 4's Today programme, Mr Lewis said: "If [the chancellor] is going to be consistent, he will need to double every number in that package."
The boss of Octopus Energy, Greg Jackson, said that while the initial support package may have been "right" at the time, "clearly its not sufficient now and we need to look at a similarly significant assistance from the government for this winter.