Households reducing energy use for financial reasons

As costs of extraction and production rise, households are looking to reduce their energy use...

Prior to much-publicised price increases from some of the ‘big six’  being announced to the world, it seems the suggestion that a price hike might be on the way from one of these energy companies had increased some people’s concern about how their bills would be looking this winter.

When a survey was carried out in September, a sample of energy bill payers was asked if rumours about a possible price hike by one of the ‘six’ had caused them to worry more about their winter energy bills. A massive 78 per cent claimed that it had, compared to just 18 per cent who claimed it had not in the uSwitch survey.

More generally, some 90 per cent of the consumers sampled ranked energy bills as one of the expenses that most worried them when presented with a list of possible expenses, meanwhile.

And the same set of stats also showed that some 51 per cent were cutting down on how much energy they were using over winter in an effort to cut their bills, with 31 per cent planning to make this move.

Some 20 per cent of the sample felt that rising energy costs meant that their household didn’t have disposable income any longer, once essential bills and taxes were paid.

And 35 per cent felt cost rises had cut down on their disposable income dramatically, with 39 per cent feeling hikes had cut their disposable income a little.

When people were asked about living costs like essential bills, meanwhile, 21 per cent said they were in debt, and that this worried them, compared to 19 per cent who were in debt but not very worried.

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“The Government has got to get competition working as this is the only way we will get to see fairer pricing, better service and people getting better deals,” commented uSwitch’s Ann Robinson in an October 29th press release.

“With four major suppliers having already announced price hikes, consumers face a perfect storm. Political hot air and rhetoric won’t heat homes – families have to take action and give themselves a price freeze instead.”

She advised that people get themselves onto a “competitive fixed price” tariff for their energy.

Another tip she had was that if people ensure that their home is insulated and draught proofed and limit its energy use as much as possible, they will see lower bills.

“Those who need help understanding what energy efficiency measures to introduce, or with financing it, should look at the Government’s Green Deal. These steps could make the difference in keeping warm this winter,” she said.

Another piece of research, conducted on October 3rd, again before any of the recently announced energy price increases were made public later that month, showed that 27 per cent of the UK’s adults were fearful of the very thought of shelling out for electric and gas bills over winter 2013/14.

That compared to 21 per cent who were in the same state over the idea of Christmas costs and 24 per cent who felt fearful about their finances more generally.

The stats came out of a Gocompare survey taking in the opinions of some 2,000 adults from the UK.