Number of accounts in arrears where there is no arrangement to repay the debt


Source: Vulnerability report 2017.

Information correct as of: October 2017

This chart shows the total number of domestic gas and electricity customers who are in arrears, but have no debt repayment arrangement between Q3 2012 and Q2 2017. We only hold data related to debts that are being repaid for the period prior to quarter three 2012.

Policy Areas:

  • Domestic consumers

Data Table

Number of accounts in arrears where there is no arrangement to repay the debt

Gas Electricity
Q3 2012399,183464,197
Q4 2012392,384457,853
Q1 2013407,462495,902
Q2 2013446,920522,363
Q3 2013453,115520,274
Q4 2013445,163513,438
Q1 2014432,850496,390
Q2 2014472,533547,855
Q3 2014472,440567,525
Q4 2014438,342545,789
Q1 2015419,614532,988
Q2 2015434,797538,021
Q3 2015421,286518,367
Q4 2015401,141483,948
Q1 2016378,416476,224
Q2 2016402,372499,547
Q3 2016409,539525,846
Q4 2016388,287508,349
Q1 2017377,136507,734
Q2 2017412,728539,716

More information

At-a-glance summary

Customers in arrears are customers who owe a debt to their supplier, but do not yet have a debt repayment arrangement in place. The number of customers in arrears has grown slowly from when we started collecting data in 2012, to a peak in 2014 (at over 2% of electricity and gas customers). Since then it has decreased slowly, and, in Q1 2016, it reached its lowest level for gas customers since we started collecting data. In Q2 2017 1.9% of electricity customers and 1.8% of gas customers were in arrears.

Relevance and further information

There continues to be a seasonal pattern to energy debt. Debt generally falls towards the end of the year, when customers that pay quarterly are billed for the warmer months. It then rises in the spring when customers that pay quarterly fall into arrears following higher energy usage during the winter months.

Suppliers are required to offer domestic customers struggling to pay their electricity and/or gas bills a range of payment options:

  • Payment by regular instalments through means other than a PPM (for example, direct debit)
  • Payment by direct deductions from social security benefits received by the customer (such as Fuel Direct or Universal Credit)
  • Payment through a PPM, where this is safe and reasonably practical.

Suppliers need to focus on preventing debt as much as they do on managing and recovering debt. Providing accurate, clear and regular bills and making early contact with customers can prevent customers accumulating debt. Suppliers have an obligation at this stage to provide energy efficiency information to customers in financial difficulties.


These are accounts that have had a bill issued which remains unpaid for longer than 91 days/13 weeks where a formal arrangement to repay the debt has not been agreed. 

Date correct
October 2017
Policy area