Debt risk heightened through poor energy choices?

A number of people may be increasing their debt troubles by not searching for the cheapest energy prices, it has been suggested.

New research from …

A number of people may be increasing their debt troubles by not searching for the cheapest energy prices, it has been suggested.

New research from uSwitch.com found only 13 per cent of households have sourced the best deals for their gas and electricity.

It means just 3.5 million families have located the most favourable rates, while 87 per cent are still being charged over the odds by their supplier.

The study showed seven million people have taken out price guarantee plans, which often involve a hefty premium.

Moreover, 3.8 million electricity customers and 2.6 million gas consumers are currently on expensive prepayment meters.

Around ten million individuals are still on standard plans, resulting in them shelling out as much as a collective £2.2 billion a year in overpayments.

Individually, these people may be charged £300 more than online customers every 12 months.

The portal cited a recent Ofgem report that revealed 30 per cent of the people who have switched their payment plans did so through an independent comparison service and 33 per cent made the move because of door-knocking.

This meant 61 per cent of switchers discovered better deals through a supplier – providing no guarantee they had been offered the cheapest option.

Ann Robinson, director of consumer policy at the website, said: “I would urge householders to move to dual fuel, pay by direct debit and sign up to an online plan so that they can start to enjoy competitive prices straight away.”

A recent investigation carried out by Confused.com discovered Brits are facing elevated household bills, with the average resident forking out around £18,500 a year on such costs.

By Joe Shervin

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