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“Warm before the storm” for 21 million at energy bill breaking point

5th November 2014 Print

As an unseasonably warm autumn gives way to Arctic storms, MoneySuperMarket reveals millions of homes are at energy breaking point – admitting they would struggle to pay their energy bills if they went up.

The comparison site polled bill payers on whether they were worried about the cost of using more energy to heat their homes as winter approaches. It found 69 per cent of those polled are concerned about bills increasing – with 28 per cent admitting to being very concerned. According to the findings, 21 million (or 45 per cent) would struggle to pay their energy bills if they went up, with one in six already struggling, despite the warmer weather.

Worryingly, for the 21 million that would struggle, it would only take an increase of £18 a month to push them over the edge. Overall, an increase of just £10 a month would be unaffordable for one in ten of those polled.

Stephen Murray, Energy Expert at MoneySuperMarket, says: “Sadly, a mild few months has just been the “warm before the storm” for British bill payers. It’s worrying to see so many are already struggling with monthly energy bills, and are bracing themselves for not only a dramatic change in the weather, but the higher consumption that comes with keeping a house warm in the colder months and the higher bills as a result. Making cutbacks will be the reality for many in order to pay their energy bills in the months to come.”

Cutting back to pay energy bills

To save money for energy bills, 30 per cent of respondents would spend less on the weekly food shop, or would also turn to own-brand goods and in-store offers. A third would cut back on treats like going to the cinema and eating out, one in five would sell some of their belongings to make ends meet, and one in eight would walk instead of paying for public transport. Furthermore:

A third would spend less on clothes to be able to pay their energy bills

3 million would borrow cash from friends / family 

One in ten would quit the gym

16 per cent would opt for a packed lunch and coffee from home

And 17 per cent would downgrade their TV or broadband package

Stephen Murray continues: “With so many Brits concerned with increasing energy usage and bills, it’s no surprise that cut-backs are on the nation’s agenda. Cutting back on luxuries is one of the first things that Brits can do to save money in order to cover the cost of winter and taking advantage of offers and savings is always a good idea; however large savings can be made simply by shopping around and switching energy providers. Using a comparison tool allows you to compare the best tariff for you and households searching through MoneySuperMarket can save as much as £184 by switching.”