Winter energy bill pain for 14m

Adam Hignett
Energy bills have soared over the past decade leading some families to ration heating
OVER 14m households were forced to go cold this winter as families struggled with the cost of energy bills, according to figures released by uSwitch today.

While most energy companies have been passing on the benefits of falling wholesale prices to consumers in the past year, the latest survey suggests many families are yet to feel any benefit. Uswitch found over half of UK households went without heating at some point in the winter in a bid to reduce costs, with 24 per cent claiming they did so on a regular basis.

Alarmingly, 27 per cent of consumers said the need to ration their energy use has led to increased health issues or a deterioration in their living standards. The increase in rationing comes as figures reveal the average UK home will spend £1,242 on energy this year, £705 more than a decade ago.

According to the survey, the most popular method of keeping warm without turning up the heat was through extra layers which was the option for 84 per cent of respondents.

Less conventional methods included leaving the oven door open (42 per cent) or heading to warmer public places (seven per cent). Despite further pledges by energy companies to pass on savings, 49 per cent of customers think these will have no impact on their bills in the future. Ann Robinson, director of consumer policy at uSwitch, urged companies to start passing on “double digit reductions”.

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