13.2 million homeowners in the United Kingdom are planning to cut back and ration fuel consumption this winter, according to research from 1,300 households. 42% will delay turning on the heating, whilst 30% plan to put it on for far shorter periods. Other intentions include lowering thermostat settings, turning it off completely in unused rooms and limiting devices that are considered energy-hungry.
With the average cost of energy in a household now being estimated at £1260 a year, paying energy bills can be a concern for many people on a low income, out of work, or the elderly. In fact nearly four out of 10 homeowners, especially with children, are worried about being able to afford to keep their homes warm this winter.
With so many people on fixed rate tariffs and dual fuel bills that have come to an end, there is the real probability of a 15% leap in their charges when they are switched to a standard variable tariff. It is therefore imperative that homeowners’ research their energy spending and explore using different suppliers and tariffs in order to get the best deal.
The end of October is normally the time when most central heating systems get turned on or up. It is calculated that a household could save £264 a year by switching supplier before the cold weather hits.
The government has provided possible grants through the Warm Front scheme, in which households with little or no heating systems or insulation can apply for. Although according to Citizens Advice , few are taking up the offer.
The scheme was underspent by £50 million over the last year. This may be because of lack of information, or that even with a degree of help, many families out of work cannot afford the difference between the grant and the final price of improvements.
Anyone wishing to take up the offer should contact the Citizens Advice Office, who can help them make an application, but it needs to be done before remaining funds are returned to the government, unused.
A cold home is a serious health hazard. Homes that are not heated properly, particularly those of the elderly, are going to be the worst hit, with forecasts suggesting an imminent cold winter.
In 2012 some 30,000 deaths were directly attributed to cold winter temperatures.
Rachel Monaghan, of the National Children’s Bureau, said:
“Some families with children in the UK have to make the choice whether to heat or eat this winter.”
Anyone who feels that they are eligible for assistance should make the effort to enquire as it could make all the difference.
This information is provided by Energy Switcheroo. We aim to provide the latest information regarding energy costs and help with finding the right energy tariff for you.