Two million people could have their gas and electricity cut off this winter because they cannot afford to top up their prepayment meter, new research suggests.
Citizens Advice has warned that having no gas and electricity would not be a “one-off” experience for many.
It comes as a separate report suggests millions are living far below the poverty line in the UK.
The government said it is spending billions on supporting households.
The survey, conducted on behalf of the Citizens Advice charity, found that in 2023, some 1.7 million people disconnected from their prepayment meters at least once a month.
It also suggests that of those who were cut off, some 800,000 people went without gas and electricity for more than 24 hours because they could not afford to top up, leaving them unable to take a shower or make a hot meal.
The analysis is based on responses from more than 4,300 adults across Britain and the charity says it reflects what it is seeing on the ground.
Citizens Advice is concerned that the situation has become even more difficult this year as the energy price cap increased in January, making both gas and electricity more expensive during the colder months.
As prepayment customers are unable to spread the cost of their energy payments throughout the year, it is more likely for customers to run out of credit and have supply knocked off during a colder patch.