Almost five million UK households are in debt to their energy suppliers, uSwitch.com has revealed.
While average debt is lower than last year, it is also some 10.5 per cent higher than during 2008, the price comparison and switching site claims.
Collectively UK residents now owe some £624 million to energy suppliers, with close to four in ten of those in debt saying the amount they owe has risen when compared to last year.
And as a result of recent price hikes by the country's biggest six energy suppliers, uSwitch.com warns that this kind of debt could be set to increase.
Director of consumer policy at uSwitch.com Ann Robinson suggests that by changing providers, people could find they save money - but that many are put off by needing to clear their debt before doing so.
"So while they may have to pay any outstanding debt to switch, by cutting the cost of their energy they could avoid falling back in to debt in the future," Ms Robinson comments.
The fifth quarterly Aviva Real Retirement Report recently showed that debt could be an increasing problem for the over-55s, with average incomes falling by four per cent.
Use the Myfinances.co.uk comparison sites to find the best deal on gas and electricity