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Seven in ten households went without heating to curb high energy bills this winter

New winter rationing study highlights the measures consumers are taking in a bid to keep bills affordable following gas and electricity price rises

More than a third of respondents believe that switching the heating off has been detrimental to their health or quality of life

More than a third of respondents believe that switching the heating off has been detrimental to their health or quality of life

Research carried out by uSwitch has revealed that 73% of British homes turned off their heating at some point this winter to cut their energy bills. One in four (23%) respondents admitted to cutting their heating frequently.

More than a third added that in their opinion, turning the heating off had negatively affected their health or quality of life.

The findings come as we near the end of Big Energy Saving Week, an event run by Citizens Advice, aimed at helping people cut down their energy consumption.

Eight in ten have tried to cut down energy use this winter

The past three months have seen almost eight in ten households ration their energy use in an attempt to keep mounting energy bills under control. Despite this, 85% remain worried about what their bills will amount to.

This growing concern over gas and electricity prices means nine in ten respondents always consider cost before turning the heating on.

Only 15% of people think energy is affordable in Britain.

What are people doing to keep warm instead of turning up the heating?

Dressing in more layers 80%
Wrapping up in a blanket while sitting down 57%
Drinking hot drinks 50%
Using an extra duvet in bed 49%
Doing housework/cleaning or some other activity 43%
Left the oven door open after cooking 42%
Used only one or two rooms 35%


‘Beggars belief’ that Brits are going cold

Ann Robinson, Director of Consumer Policy at uSwitch, said: “It simply beggars belief that in 2014 people in Britain are going cold because they can’t afford to have their heating on. Keeping warm is not a luxury, it’s a necessity, and severely rationing energy use can have serious consequences for health and well-being.

“The tragic fact is that consumers just aren’t coping with the high cost of energy today. The situation is getting worse year on year and far more needs to be done by the Government and suppliers to make affordability a priority and to support consumers in taking the right steps to cut their bills.

“Rather than compromising on their health, I would urge consumers to follow the two golden rules to lowering household energy bills. The first is to ensure their home is as energy efficient as possible so that they aren’t wasting energy, and the second is to pay as little as possible for what they do use by switching to the cheapest tariff for their needs.”

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  • Dianne Lee

    I only turn the gas central heating on once a week so that I can have a bath instead of a shower in a cold bathroom. of course most of my radiators off. This means I only put £10 a fortnight into my pre-pay metre. on the other evenings, I use an electric fire in the lounge. I put £10 a week into my pre-pay metre. I have no heating during the day or at night.

  • Jayann90

    My boiler hasn’t worked in over 7 months problem is I cannot afford to replace it as I have a very low income and struggle enough. According the government because I work/do not have dependents or am not claiming benefits I do not fall into a category that they can help.

  • goldenblls

    I probably have the heating on for no more than ten mins a day. Waking up time is absolutely essential and when getting in from work.

  • Amandah

    The times I put my heating on:
    Jan=0 times.
    Dec=0 times
    Nov=3 hrs the entire month, as I had my niece stay one night.
    Oct=0 times
    You see the pattern right. I have storage heaters throughout the apt’ and it’s only Electric supplied to our properties. So from time to time I’ve found it ‘cheaper’ to put the oven on for a few hours.
    It gets so cold in my place at times and trying to concentrate whilst doing my assignments for my Diploma isn’t easy. So I’m constantly having to layer up & keep a hot water bottle with me.
    Even though I’m unemployed and on JSA I still don’t qualify for the heating allowance……….because I’m on JSA, but Don’t have children!
    Go figure that one!!
    And it’s not even Fuel V Food as half the time there’s not enough money for that ethier. I Never thought at the age of 41 I’d be worse off than my parents era!