Almost a third of people contacting leading debt charity the Consumer Credit Counselling Service (CCCS) are already in fuel poverty. The new figures from the charity are a stark warning about the impact of energy price rises on struggling debtors.
19,437 of the people seeking help with their debts from the CCCS in the first six months of this year were in fuel poverty. Their average combined gas and electricity bill was £136 a month, a significant chunk out of their average net monthly income of £847.
The debtors were on average £302 short of the amount they needed to cover basic living expenses each month - the burden of their energy bill was one of the main reasons for this. This shortfall was preventing them from being able to repay their debts, which were, on average, £15,759.
The CCCs warns that this shortfall could grow even larger if energy bills continue to rise.
CCCS director of external affairs Delroy Corinaldi said: "The finances of people in fuel poverty are already significantly overstretched - and we are extremely concerned that the current round of energy price rises could plunge them even further into debt.
"I would strongly urge anyone who is struggling to cope over the coming months to contact a free and impartial debt charity such as CCCS as early as possible."
Worried about fuel poverty?
You may be entitled to cold weather payments, and if you are retired, to winter fuel payments. If you are, these will be automatically paid to you - there's no need to apply. Find out more about both of these here.
DirectGov also has loads of information on how to save more energy in your home and cut the cost of your energy bills as well as details of different grants you may be eligible for to insulate your home. See all that here.
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