The number of energy bill settlement arrangements has doubled, compared to just months ago, as thousands of consumers face growing pressure resulting from a relentless price surge over the past five months.
Electricity and natural gas bills including consumption for December, a month of record price levels since the start of the energy crisis, are now being received by households and businesses through the post and via emails.
Consumers, needing to dig a lot deeper into their pockets to cover more-than-double energy costs, as well as suppliers, forced to deal with tightened cash flow, are all feeling the strain.
State subsidies promise some relief for consumers and suppliers but the support is simply not enough to help them through the crisis.
Officials are concerned the situation could prompt a new wave of unpaid receivables, this time including the natural gas sector, not just electricity, which would trigger a destabilizing knock-on effect throughout the energy sector.