There have been warnings that the cold snap could cost households an extra £7 a week on their energy bills at a time when consumers are seeing price rises take effect.
Five of Britain’s six biggest suppliers announced price hikes this winter pushing bill prices up by an average of £90 or 7%. The average household energy bill has now risen to £1,334 a year.
But whilst mild weather shields customers from the impact of higher prices households could be facing an additional £30 on their next energy bill if freezing weather continues for a month
87% – almost nine in ten – households are expected to ration their energy use this winter to save on energy bills, particularly worrying after news that there were 24000 ‘excess deaths’ during last winter.
Last winter three quarters of households (75%) went without heating at some point to keep their energy costs down – 15% said it had affected their quality of life or health.
Ann Robinson, Director of Consumer Policy at uSwitch.com, says: “Households will be bracing themselves for the big chill this weekend, yet recent energy price hikes will leave many afraid to turn on their heating.
“We have reached the point where people are potentially compromising their health and well-being rather than risking higher energy bills. A cold snap can easily add an extra £1 a day onto the cost of heating a home.
“This is why it’s so important that households with an elderly resident check whether they are eligible for winter fuel payments, and why those on benefits such as pension credit, make sure they get the cold weather allowance.
“As we enter this cold snap I would urge consumers to look at the low-cost or free home insulation offers currently available. These will help to reduce your energy usage by making your home more energy efficient.
“These deals are disappearing and are expected to be gone by the end of December so people really do need to act fast. At the same time, moving to a more competitive energy deal will mean paying far less for the energy you use. These two simple steps are households’ best defence against the high cost of energy this winter, and for many winters to come.”
Winter death toll drops, but numbers still ‘national tragedy’ – last year’s mild weather still led to deaths.
Cold weather payment – government help with your energy bills when temperatures plummet.