Pre-pay energy customers £1 billion in debt

For immediate release 01/04/23

New figures from Debt Justice reveal that pre-pay energy users are being weighed down by £965 million of energy debt as households are hit by ‘price hike day’ on April 1st. 

The analysis also shows that indebted pre-pay energy users currently take an average of three years and nine months to pay off electricity debt and five years to pay off gas debt. 

Energy debt repayments are deducted from credit and can force households to go without the energy they need for heating, cooking or operating medical equipment. For pre-pay users, debt repayments speed up disconnection, exposing them to the deadly effects of cold and damp homes. 

Junnie Braithwaite, 56, northeast London said:

“I live in a socially rented apartment split over two floors and need to use a stairlift because of fibromyalgia and arthritis. Due to rising energy prices and £600 of energy debt I can no longer afford to operate my stairlift. 

This debt is based on an estimation as I am unable to read my meter. EON hasn’t sent anyone round to read the meter for years and are now pressuring me to go on to pre-pay. 

I have been forced into unpayable debt because of my situation and it has left me feeling suicidal.” 

Junnie Braithwaite, 56, northeast London

Heidi Chow, Executive Director of Debt Justice said:

“Record energy prices have led to record debt and it is unrealistic to expect households to pay it back in the middle of a cost of living crisis.  

The government needs to urgently step in to pause energy debt enforcement, write down the unpayable debt and reform the energy system to ensure everyone has access to the energy they need.” 

Heidi Chow, Executive Director of Debt Justice

Junnie is available for interviews. For more information and to discuss an interview contact Joe Cox on 07796884487 


Debt Justice (formerly Jubilee Debt Campaign) is a campaigning organisation working to end unjust debt and the poverty and inequality it perpetuates, in the UK and across the world https://debtjustice.org.uk/  

The Debt Justice Privacy Policy is available at https://debtjustice.org.uk/privacy-policy-2

Full briefing available at https://debtjustice.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2023/03/Energy-debt-briefing-v3.pdf  

Average debt and total debt held by PPM customers is calculated by multiplying the average length of debt repayment for PPM customers by the average weekly repayment amount from each supplier with published data. Using the latest data from Ofgem available at https://www.ofgem.gov.uk/energy-data-and-research/data-portal/all-available-charts?keyword=debt&sort=relevance  

 Gas Electricity 
All customers with debt repayment plan 1,151,767 1,378,079 
Proportion of customers repaying debt using a PPM 26% 30% 
Number of PPM customers repaying debt (calculation based on publicly available figures)  299,459 413,424 
Average debt  £1,137 £1,512 
Totals £340,485,360 £624,683,210 
Combined Total PPM Debt £965,168,571  
GAS Average length of debt repayment plans agreed (weeks) Average Weekly Repayment £ Total Average Debt Per Household £ 
EDF Energy 352 £5.6 £1,971 
Bulb Energy 266 £5.2 £1,383 
Ecotricity 244 £5.1 £1,244 
Utility Warehouse 225 £3.6 £810 
Scottish Power 163 £11.2 £1,826 
Utilita 159 £3.4 £541 
British Gas 149 £6.0 £894 
Ovo Energy 139 £6.5 £904 
E.ON 105 £6.3 £662 
Average 200 £5.9 £1,137 
ELECTRICITY  Average length of debt repayment plans agreed (weeks) Average Weekly Repayment £ Total Average Debt Per Household £ 
EDF Energy 329 £6.2 £2,040 
Bulb Energy 344 £5.2 £1,789 
Ecotricity 517 £5.0 £2,585 
Utility Warehouse 301 £3.7 £1,114 
Scottish Power 201 £11.2 £2,251 
Utilita 179 £3.5 £627 
British Gas 143 £7.0 £1,001 
Ovo Energy 192 £6.3 £1,210 
E.ON 150 £6.6 £990 
Average 262 £6.1 £1,512 

Joe Cox 
Senior Policy Officer (Household Debt) 
+44 (0) 779 6884487 
 www.debtjustice.org.uk | @debtjustice 

Debt Justice (formerly Jubilee Debt Campaign) is a charity (no. 1055675) and a company limited by guarantee (no. 3201959) registered in England and Wales. Registered office Oxford House, Derbyshire Street, London E2 6HG 

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