Heating Wars Commence Across The UK Fuelled by Rising Energy Costs

By Moneysupermarket.com, PRNE
Monday, November 7, 2011

CHESTER, UK, November 8, 2011 -

  • More than 26 million adults would rather wrap up with a jumper
  • Swap providers NOW to save money on winter energy bills, says MoneySupermarket.com

The combination of unseasonal warmer days and colder nights is causing conflict among households across the UK over whether to turn the heating on or slip on an extra layer of clothing, according to research by MoneySupermarket.com.[1]

Research from Britain’s number one comparison site found a third of UK adults (31 per cent) argue with their family about turning the heating on. A fifth (19 per cent) admit they get irritated because someone else switches the heating on before they want to, while on the other hand, 12 per cent admit to rowing with family or housemates because they want to turn the heating on sooner than everyone else. A whopping three quarters of those arguing (76 per cent) stated the reason for disagreeing about turning on the heating is they or the people they live with are concerned about the rising cost of energy this winter.

The research also found over 26 million prudent adults would rather wear extra layers this winter than turn on the heating[2].Those in the South West take the top spot when it comes to wrapping up warm, with two thirds (63 per cent) preferring to put a jumper on over turning the heating on. 

Scott Byrom, energy expert at MoneySupermarket said: “The temperature may be dropping, but households across the country are getting heated. Arguing over whether to switch on the heating or not seems to be hot on the agenda for struggling bill payers. Unsurprisingly, many consumers are concerned about the high cost of energy, especially as the latest round of price hikes saw an extra 17.4 per cent added to the cost of gas and 10.8 per cent to the cost of electricity.  The average annual standard bill now stands at a wallet-busting £1,287 and people are quite rightly scared - as we move into the winter months energy consumption is at its highest with bill payers using around 40 per cent of their annual usage during these months, this could see huge bills of around £514.80 land on doorsteps after the expensive Christmas and New Year period.[3]

“It’s worrying how many people are so concerned about affording their energy bills, but consumers can take action to combat the cost of fuel bills and ease the burden of a hefty bill hitting them in the New Year. Consumers need to make sure they are on the best energy deal for their usage and region. Finding the right tariff means bill payers could save on average £237 per year. For example, the cheapest online tariff available is npower’s Sign Online 24 with annual bills of £1,050 on average, but, for the same price, consumers can protect themselves against future price rises with either EDF Energy’s Fix for 2012 tariff with bills fixed at £1,050 until December 31st 2012.”

MoneySupermarket’stop tips to minimise your gas and electricity bills:

  • Turn your thermostat down- now. By reducing your room temperature by just 1°C you could save an astonishing 10% on your annual heating bills.
  • Switch off and save. Don’t leave electrical appliances on standby as it still uses power. Make it a nightly ritual to ensure all lights and appliances are off and watch those savings mount. For example, leaving your computer on ’sleep’ means it is still using 75% of its energy.
  • Almost 25% of heat is lost via poorly insulated roofs. Invest in insulation - it is cheap and effective. What is more, many free grants are available from local councils for pensioners and those on low incomes.
  • Heating the whole house is justifiable for a large family but for working couples and singles, it is more cost-effective to heat only the rooms you use most. Invest in a low energy heater.
  • In the winter months, it pays to close all your curtains as soon as dusk sets - they keep the heat in and are one of the simplest and easiest ways of cutting back on heating bills.
  • Change to energy saving light bulbs. You can save up to £40 over the lifetime of the bulb.
  • Invest in a microwave oven. They are fast and efficient particularly for small families and singles and use a fraction of the energy of a conventional gas or electric cooker.
  • Watch out for draughts around doors (keyholes, letter boxes, gaps in doors and windows). Heat escaping your home is money wasted, so get yourself kitted out. Draught excluder packs are available from most DIY stores and for as little as £60. It is estimated that good draught exclusion around an average terrace can save as much as £25 a year, so it will soon pay for itself.
  • Double-glazing is pricey to install but will make a difference to bills over time. Heat loss through windows is cut by a whopping 50% - saving around £100 a year on bills.
  • Don’t fill your kettle each time you go to make a coffee or cup of tea - only use the water you need. It will be quicker to boil and use less energy. It’s a simple tip but makes a difference.
  • Take showers and not baths. While a hot bubble bath may feel like a treat, the cost of heating the water soon mounts up. A shower uses around a third of the water of a bath.
  • If you use a washing machine turn the temperature down to 30°C. Today’s washing powders are so efficient they do not need to be used at high temperatures. Even better, get into the habit of hand-washing and just using your machine’s spin function. It saves both time and money.
  • Don’t forget elderly relatives or neighbours. The elderly are particularly vulnerable in winter months, so take time out to help them and make sure they can take steps to keep warm. Help an elderly relative or neighbour reduce their energy bills by helping them switch to a better deal and ensuring they are taking the necessary measures to heat their home for less. Customers over the age of 70 automatically qualify for FREE loft and cavity wall insulation which can save up to £250 off their annual bill. Help them get this installed by contacting their energy supplier(s) before the winter chill bites hard.

Notes to editors:

[1]Opinium Research carried out an online poll of 2,013 UK adults from 21st - 24th October 2011. Results have been weighted to nationally representative criteria.

[2]  All figures based on ONS population projection for 2011 of 18+ adults,  49,529,000, with 53% stating they would put an additional layer on - 26,250,370 or 26 million

[3]Quarterly energy consumption break down based on typical annual household consumption:

                  Quarter               Electricity (%) Gas (%) Combined (%)
    13 August 2007 - 12 November 2007        21.3        14.2      17.75
    13 November 2007 - 15 February 2008      32.9        45.9       39.4
    16 February 2008 - 16 May 2008           25.1        29.6      27.35
    17 May 2008 - 17 November 2008           20.7        10.3       15.5

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