20pc of households having difficulty paying power bills
ONE in 20 householders is in arrears on their electricity bill while another 14pc manage the expense by paying in instalments
The situation is similar for gas where 4pc of domestic customers say they're in arrears and another 16pc make partial payments.
Those who part-pay say they're usually up to date by the time the next bill is issued, a new consumer survey for the Commission for Energy Regulation has found.
The survey found that most consumers are hazy about how energy prices are structured and only a small proportion understand different offers from rival companies.
One in eight people questioned had switched energy suppliers in the previous year which the report said was reasonable and comparable to UK rates.
Inertia was the main reason for not switching, although some were suspicious that they wouldn't make advertised savings.
There has been a surge in interest in prepaid energy options to avoid heavy bills coming through the letterbox.
Some 10pc of electricity and 18pc of gas customers said they were interested in this while one in 10 is on equalised billing where you spread your payments evenly all year round.
The survey was carried out among 1,000 electricity and 1,000 gas customers by the Behaviour & Attitudes research company.