Household

Number of homeowners unable to pay winter bills up 80%

Rozi Jones
|
18th October 2019
Cold Spot 788
"We have a very cold winter ahead of us, which obviously means our heating is on for longer - but this doesn’t necessarily need to lead to higher energy bills."

Over three quarters (76%) of Brits will cut back on their regular outgoings to pay for their heating this winter – an increase of 29% on last year, according to research from MoneySuperMarket.

Over a third (38%) of Brits fear being unable to pay their energy bills - up 80% since last year, while 15% of homeowners anticipate there will be days their family will go cold..

Sacrifices being made include reducing energy consumption in the home, via basic measures such as turning the lights off in empty rooms and turning appliances off at the wall (33%).

26% of Brits are preparing to spend less on their regular food shopping. A third (34%) will be eating out less and having fewer takeaways, while a fifth (22%) will be going on fewer nights out – both numbers representing a 76% increase on 2018’s figures.

The data reveals that over 55s are the least likely to make sacrifices this winter, with a third saying they don’t expect to make any cutbacks. Conversely, 83% of young adults between the ages of 25-34 are preparing to make sacrifices.

Norwich residents (84%) are the most likely to make sacrifices in order to afford their winter household bills, followed by London (81%) and Belfast (81%) – all higher than the national average of 76%.

Stephen Murray, energy expert at MoneySuperMarket, commented: “If the forecasters’ predictions are right, we have a very cold winter ahead of us, which obviously means our heating is on for longer - but this doesn’t necessarily need to lead to higher energy bills.

“The good news is that you can make significant cost savings. In the first instance, it’s worth checking your current tariff – if you’ve been with the same energy provider for a long time, the chances are you’re languishing on an expensive standard variable tariff. By switching to a competitive fixed rate deal today, you could save £238 on your bills.

“It’s also worth checking if you’re eligible for the government’s Warm Home Discount scheme, which launched earlier this week. If you are, you could be entitled to receive up to £140 off your electricity bill this winter.

“You can also take some basic steps at home to bring down the cost of your bills, such as not leaving your lights turned on in empty rooms, washing your clothes at lower temperatures and making sure appliances, such as TVs, aren’t left on standby. Turning your thermostat down by just one degree could save you up to £75 a year.”

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