A warning has been issued to anybody who has cancelled their energy direct debits, or those thinking of doing so amid rising bills.

The warning comes after it emerged people opting to cancel their direct debits could end up paying hundreds more.

Jonathan Chesterman, policy manager at debt charity StepChange, said: "Direct debit is the cheapest way to pay for gas and electricity - if cancel your direct debit for energy bills, it may cost you more and your energy supplier will send you bills at a higher rate.

"Understandably people are worried about how they will afford their energy bills as they have risen to unprecedented levels this year and are set to rise even further this winter."

Five ways you can reduce your energy bills

How much are energy bills going up?

The warning comes as Brits prepare for the energy price cap rise set to be announced by Ofgem on Friday with experts expecting average annual energy bills to climb to more than £3,500.

Monthly direct debits mean an amount is automatically paid from your bank account each month. Generally it means people will be paying for more than they’re using in the summer months and vice versa during winter.

Those who pay by direct debit will often get a discount, for example British Gas customers can get as much as seven per cent.

Chesterman said: "If you have fallen behind with your payments, it’s important to contact your supplier and let them know you’re struggling. You may be able to negotiate an affordable payment plan, and they can tell you if there are any support grants available to help you pay off a utility bill.”

Your Money Matters

Your Money Matters is a campaign launched by us and our sister titles across Newsquest to help you overcome the surge in the cost of living. This year has seen a whole host of household price increases - from the energy price cap rise to surging inflation and food prices - costing your family hundreds or even thousands of pounds extra per year. We're making it our mission to look out for your cash, offering money-saving deals, competitions, giveaways and insightful stories from your community on the impact this cost of living crisis is having on our readers. The worldwide energy crisis exacerbated by the Ukraine invasion, the financial impact of the Covid pandemic, record inflation figures and a surge in the cost of goods, fuel and travel means we will all feel the pinch. Through our newspaper, we want to do what we can to help make your cash go further because we know your money matters.