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/
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
|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|
|Combined Total PPM Debt||£965,168,571|
|GAS||Average length of debt repayment plans agreed (weeks)||Average Weekly Repayment £||Total Average Debt Per Household £|
|ELECTRICITY||Average length of debt repayment plans agreed (weeks)||Average Weekly Repayment £||Total Average Debt Per Household £|
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