Ahead of the winter household energy debt has hit a five year high of £216 and those who owe money to their energy provider is up 11% on last year.
A poll for comparison site Uswitch has found that the average household debt has risen 13% and the number of people who owe money to their supplier has risen to 2,800,000 to 3,200,000.
Over nine million have no energy credit as the winter months loom to cover the higher costs of heating.
Around 40% say their debt is higher than the previous year and 28% say their position remains the same as last year, with 14% saying they’ve moved from being in credit to now being in debt.
More than half of households say they are concerned over how they will be able to pay their energy bills this winter and just 25% have no concerns.
Richard Neudegg, director of regulation at Uswitch, said: “Building up a war chest of around two months of energy credit is important as we head into winter, and it’s worrying that more than nine million households have no buffer against the coldest months.
“Average household energy debt for autumn is at the highest level we’ve seen in more than five years. And with the price cap changing every three months, households are facing even more uncertainty this year as prices are expected to rise again in January.
“If your energy account is going into debt or you are behind on your bill payments, speak to your provider as soon as possible. They should be able to help you find a solution, such as working out a more affordable payment plan. You may also find you are eligible for additional support such as hardship funds and other energy help schemes.”