Those looking to save say they are wearing an extra layer of clothing at home, avoiding putting the heating on during the day and lowering the thermostat’s temperature. Yet the energy crisis shows little sign of abating, says the survey’s commissioner, renewable supplies platform PPAYA. Its chief executive Kristina Rabecaite said: “The reliance we have on imported gas in the UK has exacerbated what is a worldwide energy crisis for homeowners here.
“It has become clear that we need to be able to store more gas and to continue investing in renewable energy and battery storage.”
The total of collapsed energy suppliers has reached 21 in Britain. But this could grow, with gas and electricity prices forecast to rise by at least 30 percent early next year.
Bills for a typical household could increase by £139 a year while prepayment meter customers with average energy use will see a £153 increase. A quarter of the 2,000 people surveyed said their bills were “unaffordable”, even before the energy crisis.
Separate research by debt advice firm PayPlan found increased energy costs could force 240 out of 1,500 people polled (16 percent) to turn to food banks this winter.
And nearly a third of respondents said energy costs were having a negative impact on their mental health.
Rachel Duffey, chief executive of PayPlan, said: “People will find it harder to cope this Christmas.
“We know that the Government has put some support measures in place but these are difficult to navigate, especially for people who are already stressed and worried.”
Google searches for “energy bill help” exploded over 3,000 percent in Britain on Wednesday, research by Boiler Central found.
The same day two more energy suppliers – Neon Energy and Social Energy Supply – ceased trading, leaving 35,000 more customers in need of rescue from market regulator Ofgem.
Comment by Caroline Abrahams
Soaring energy costs are causing a huge amount of anxiety for older people at the moment.
Even before the latest rises, a million pensioner households were living in fuel poverty. Surging prices are likely to push thousands more into trouble this winter.
While the energy price cap will offer some protection, most of us are looking at paying a lot more to stay warm.
Many older people live on a very low, fixed income and often have a greater need for energy compared with other age groups. They often have multiple health conditions that are aggravated by the cold and tend to live in older, harder-to-heat homes. That’s why it is so important that the Government acts swiftly to protect the health and welfare of pensioners on low incomes this winter.
We cannot have a situation where rising bills, which older people can do nothing about, mean the poorest having to choose between heating and eating.
We are urging anyone who is worried about their bills and staying warm this winter to get in touch with us before rationing their heating as there’s a good chance they’ll be entitled to some help.
- Age UK’s advice line is open every day from 8am to 7pm on 0800 678 1602.