in the dark

UK household energy debt hit record high even before price hikes

By Caroline Molloy, Open Democracy

A record 3.4 million gas and electricity accounts were in debt even before the April price hike, new figures quietly released by Ofgem reveal. That figure is nearly a third higher than it was a year earlier, when the figure stood a little below 2.6 million. The energy regulator, which has been collecting comparable data since 2012, admits it is “the largest year on year increase in arrears” that it has seen. This is the first official energy arrears data to be published in nearly a year, after the turmoil caused by the collapse of several energy suppliers resulted in a significant delay in releasing the data, Ofgem previously told openDemocracy. Joe Cox of the Debt Justice Campaign told openDemocracy: “These shocking new figures show beyond any doubt that millions of households are being pushed into debt just to heat and power their homes.” He added: “This crisis is now...