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Millions of families to be pushed into the red on energy bills

Joanna Faith
Written By:
Joanna Faith

The record energy price cap increase is set to push millions of households with children at home into debt with their supplier, research reveals.

Some 43 per cent of families with children say they would go into debt to their provider if the cost of energy increases, more than double the number (20 per cent) of people without children, according to the latest Household Financial Confidence Tracker from Comparethemarket.

The regulator’s energy price cap went up by a record £139 at the start of October from £1,138 to £1,277.

The cap limits the amount suppliers can charge households on standard and default tariffs, which were typically among the most expensive deals on the market.

However, soaring wholesale prices and the resulting energy crisis means energy prices are soaring across the board.

As many as one in six (16 per cent) families with children at home report being in arrears to their energy provider, or have been, in the last 12 months, according to the findings.

One in three (32 per cent) are not currently in debt but are worried they will soon fall into arrears. By contrast, 19 per cent of people without children at home are concerned about energy debt.

More than one in five (22 per cent) families with children at home said they had struggled to pay their bills over the last week.

In addition, 23 per cent of families with children at home do not feel confident in their ability to meet their financial obligations over the coming weeks – compared to (14 per cent) of people without children in the house.

Ursula Gibbs, director at Comparethemarket, said: “Rising energy costs are understandably a massive cause for concern for millions of households across the UK, and even more so for families with children at home. The current energy crisis is sadly showing no signs of ending. The price cap increase is a concern for many and millions of households are facing a significant increase to their outgoings as a result, which will unfortunately push many into debt with their supplier.

The energy crisis has left people with few options to reduce costs, with little to no tariffs to switch to that present value for money.

Gibbs added: “With winter approaching, a time when usage tends to increase, people are worried that the additional cost will push them into the red.

“People facing financial difficulty should speak to their supplier to see what support is available and can also find out if they are eligible for the Government’s Warm Homes Discount scheme.”