A survey from comparison website uSwitch has found that one in five households are now in debt to their energy supplier.

Family finances have been suffering at the hands of rising energy costs and the record-breakingly cold March the UK endured. These issues have caused some five million households in the UK to be behind in bill payments, uSwitch has said.

This is approximately one million more households than what was reported last year. The comparison website claims that the total debt reaches a total of £637 million.

Energy and climate change minister Greg Barker has said that struggling households are able to access help if they are in desperate need.

"Anyone worried about paying their bills or staying warm can call the Home Heat Helpline on 0800 336699. Households can also take a number of practical steps like taking regular meter readings and checking that they are getting the best possible deal from their energy supplier," he recommended.

The study by uSwitch found that two per cent are looking to move to a prepayment meter, whereas ten per cent will set up a repayment plan with their provider.

Director of consumer policy at uSwitch.com Ann Robinson said: "The fact that a million more households have fallen behind in the last year so that over five million are now in debt to suppliers tells us everything we need to know about the impact of sky-high energy prices."

One potential option to save money on future energy bills could be the installation of solar panels. The technology will allow households to cut down on their electricity use from the National Grid, by using clean, renewable energy generated by a photovoltaic array.

Although some might see the installation of panels as a further expense, there are ways in which to get the technology without incurring huge costs. Local governments often offer schemes to help with the cost of installations.

Furthermore, households can access the feed in tariff, which gives homeowners financial benefits by feeding excess energy back into the national grid.