With energy efficiency being far less robust in rural housing this is a worrying story – with a fair number of these households likely to be in rural settings. It tells us:

The number of households already in debt to their energy supplier before winter begins has grown by more than 300,000 in the past year, according to research, with a total of nearly £400m owed to power companies.

Following a round of price hikes, the amount of debt collectively owed to energy companies in the UK hit £393m in October, an increase of almost a quarter on the same time last year. Fuel poverty campaigners said the figures were a reminder of the “huge anxiety” many people faced this winter, worrying whether they could afford to turn the heating on.

Households are usually expected to be in credit by this time of year, ahead of the higher electricity and gas consumption to come in the colder months. But research by the consumer website uSwitch found a 10th of them, 2.93 million, were in debt to their supplier, up from 2.62 million in October 2017. They owed an average of £134 each.

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