Price rises from the UK’s ‘Big Six’ energy suppliers could push householders to delay switching on the heating until at least November despite predictions of a cold month ahead.
According to a YouGov poll commissioned by Anglian Home Improvements, over one in five of those surveyed plan to wear warmer clothing instead of switching on the heating to save money.
Over half of respondents (51%) are likely to delay switching on their heating compared to last year because of rising costs.
Meanwhile, another survey by comparison website uSwitch indicates that 28% of households are already struggling to pay their energy bills following the across-the-board price rises.
uSwitch says that the UK is on the brink of an ‘affordability’ crisis, with average bills now reaching £1293 a year. According to the organisation, that is perilously close to the £1500 tipping point at which 77% of households will start rationing energy and 59% will start going without adequate heating. Over a third (36%) of households will be forced to turn the heating off entirely at this point, claims uSwitch.
“We are now just 14% away from hitting an affordability ceiling after which consumers will start rationing their usage as though they are living in the third world,” says Ann Robinson, head of consumer policy at uSwitch. “The facts speak for themselves: almost 7 million households living in fuel poverty, a third… saying energy is already unaffordable… and a quarter struggling to pay their bills.”
The survey respondents don’t just blame energy companies, according to uSwitch 69% blame the Government for not striking the right balance between affordable energy and its decarbonisation of the electricity supply.
But green group Friends of the Earth says cutting energy waste and investing in renewables is the only answer in the long term.
“Consumers are being misled about the causes of energy bill increases – the main reason they are rocketing is because the Big Six energy companies have us hooked on ever more expensive imports of gas, coal and oil,” says campaigner Craig Bennett.
For further information:
EDF claims lowest energy price rises of UK’s Big Six suppliers (16-Sept)
UK price rises could increase fuel poverty to 6.6 million homes (16-Aug)
UK Government must change course on fuel poverty, say NGOs (20-Jul)
10 October 2011