Research by the Debt Advisory Centre has found around 4 million households in the UK are currently in arrears with their utility payments as costs continue to rise.
Over a quarter of people (26%) confessed to ignoring their utility bill because they were unable to pay it at the time.
Water rates appear to be the utility which the majority of people struggle to meet, with 2.1 million people failing to pay on a regular basis.
Around 42% of people stated they had been in arrears with their water rates for more than three months, whilst 23% admitted to having been a month behind on payments.
Over 30% of people claimed they had fallen behind on their gas payments for three months or more, with 1.9 million currently owing money to their provider.
Energy companies faced heavy criticism from struggling households and consumer groups for hiking up their rates last winter, with the UK's six largest providers announcing price increases as temperatures across the UK plummeted.
This anger was fuelled further by the news that all firms had reaped hefty annual profits. Ian Williams, of the Debt Advisory Centre, said: "Getting the right debt advice could help to reduce your debt repayments to a level you can afford, giving you enough room in your budget to keep up with your utility bills and arrears payments."
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For more information about the Utilities arrears research check out the Debt Advisory Centre
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