Getting out of debt is difficult no matter who you are in debt to, but energy debt can be particularly hard to get out of once you have it. Energy suppliers may raise your tariffs, change you to prepayment meters, or otherwise make it harder to get out of debt, though many work with you more than a credit card company would. On the other hand, people rate energy bills as being more difficult to read and understand than credit card statements! Here’s why debt to your energy supplier can lead to a vicious cycle of paying it off and getting into debt again.Energy Debt

Rising Energy Costs Make It Harder To Survive

While energy costs were much lower even five years ago, the cost of energy has not just crept up – it has skyrocketed. Electricity and gas bills have increased drastically, making it difficult to predict how much you will need to budget even a year or two from now. If you’re not careful, you can end up on the hook when your tariff increases at the end of a fixed-rate term. Rising energy costs affect all UK households, though households with lower income tend to be disproportionately affected.

Government Programmes And Schemes Don’t Help Everyone

Some energy programmes and schemes may help older people, those who are disabled or out of work, and so on, but people always fall through the cracks. In particular, those who work full-time but earn just enough that they don’t qualify for as much assistance often get into trouble when it comes to paying energy bills. Not everyone can afford to add extra money on top of monthly payments to pay off a debt.

Winter Months Require Much More Energy Than Summer Months

You can easily be lulled into a false sense of security during the summer when you might cope with the heat by going to the mall or taking cool baths, but during the winter, you really need to turn up the heat in order to be comfortable. Winter energy bills are often much higher, and it’s hard to budget for this drastic increase ahead of time. One way you can do so is by looking at your annual energy statements to see how much you spend, dividing the amount by twelve, and setting aside extra money above your payments to reach that number each month. You can add the money you set aside to winter payments to make them easier.

You May Not Switch Suppliers In Time

You can save hundreds of pounds each year by choosing the right tariff and supplier, but if you wait until you’re in debt to switch, you can be blocked from transferring by your supplier. You can transfer £500 of debt with a prepayment meter, but there is no minimum amount required for the supplier to accept when it comes to postpaid plans.

Prepayment Meters Are Not Favourable For Most People

Though some people opt for prepayment meters, most have them because they fell into debt, their landlord requires it, or they inherited the meter with the house they bought. They aren’t generally a good idea for most people, as they come with higher tariffs and much less variety or selection than postpaid tariffs carry. You won’t be able to compare tariffs and save hundreds of pounds like most people can.

It’s Hard To Spend Money On Energy Efficiency

The best way to decrease your energy bills is by being energy-efficient. If you can cut down on the energy you use, the savings can be invested in further energy efficiency improvements, after all. The problem is that it can be hard to find the money to start making these changes! The first few months may require careful use of everything from chargers for electronics to appliances until you start to see lower bills. Green Deal programme initiatives help, but they aren’t perfect and they still require a financial investment.

Energy debt is a reality for many in the UK today, and it means that you may find yourself struggling to pay this month’s energy bill while trying to put extra money onto the payment for last month’s bill, too. It’s all too easy for bills to stack up until you have a sizeable debt with your supplier and can’t even switch to a cheaper supplier.

Laura Ginn knows that the increasing cost of gas and electricity is forcing more families into energy debt than ever before. By using the free energy saving tips on uSwitch.com you can start saving energy and reducing the cost of your utility bills.

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