Thousands of Britons risk falling into debt this winter – how to avoid it | Personal finance | Finance

Ofgem has confirmed that the energy price cap will rise in October, with households facing an average annual bill of £3,549. Analysts at the Resolution Foundation said typical energy costs during the winter months will be three times higher than last year, reaching £500 per month.

Energy bills in January alone could reach £714, potentially taking up half of a person’s disposable income and leaving them unable to pay their balance.

Ava Kelly, energy saving expert at Love Energy Savings, warned that energy poverty could affect many Britons.

Speaking exclusively to Express.co.uk, she said: “Energy debt is a reality many are facing this year as energy prices have hit an all time high due to fluctuating oil prices. oil.

“MPs have warned that millions of people who have never been in debt before are at risk of finding themselves in debt for the first time due to energy bills.

“A £15billion support package for billpayers was announced in May, but energy prices have continued to climb since then, and the aid already announced is unlikely to be enough to prevent widespread energy poverty across the UK.”

READ MORE: Save £110 in 4 minutes – a simple bathroom hack cuts household bills

Ms Kelly urged people to continue with their payments because refusing to pay for energy could harm a person’s future financial prospects.

She said stopping paying an energy bill “is not an option”, as with the “Don’t Pay UK” initiative.

She warned: “This will only increase arrears, and energy suppliers are likely to take legal action against those unwilling or unable to pay.

“This will in turn destroy credit ratings and may prevent you from borrowing in the future, for example by getting a mortgage.

“If you’re struggling to pay your bill, contact your provider to find a manageable amount you can afford.

READ MORE: ‘I learned from my grandmother’ The caterer’s money-saving tip could save £1,000

“They are obligated to factor your inflows and outflows with any repayment plan.”

Becci Armstrong is managing director of Mersey Eco Grants, which installs free insulation and other energy efficiency measures in homes.

She said many of the people they serve are already considered energy poor and fearful of incurring energy debt.

She told Express.co.uk: “They don’t know how they’re going to keep their house warm, they don’t know where the money will come from.

“The conversations we have are ‘I literally won’t be able to afford to turn on my heating in the winter’.

“They worry about how they’re going to be able to afford not only to pay for their heating, but also their food, how they’re going to be able to afford to get to work.”

She urged people struggling to pay their bills to seek help from energy providers and other groups.

She said: “Energy companies are preparing and have plans in place for people who are really struggling.

“Anyone with health problems, where the cold affects their illness, can contact Citizen’s Advice and their energy supplier.

“There are some people who are considered vulnerable, where the energy companies wouldn’t cut off their supply.

“If someone has a family with children under 16 or certain health conditions, their energy cannot be turned off, but they should contact their energy company.”