Households resort to energy rationing

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Nearly half of UK households are avoiding switching the lights on in their homes, in a desperate attempt to reduce energy usage and keep bills down. Surprisingly 3% of people eat by candle light which is great for the romantics in us, but not ideal on a daily basis.

And 14% of people are sharing bath water with their family, as householders turn to more extreme ways to keep their utility bills down, according to research from Confused.com.

Household bills have risen dramatically over the last few months and three quarters of families are trying to save as much energy as possible. Following a summer of price hikes, bad press and damning findings from Ofgem that power companies are making a massive profit of £125 for each average customer, people are now being forced to ration their energy usage.

At the Energy Summit last week, the prime minister, consumer groups, energy suppliers and industry regulator Ofgem for the first time agreed that consumers need more help to get the cost of their gas and electricity bills down. But they failed to come up with any concrete measures – the best they could do was to urge consumers to shop around.

As many UK residents face another cold winter with many struggling to pay their bills, more than half say they wear more clothes in winter to avoid putting the heating on. Worryingly, 70% of the 55+ age range group are already doing this, and this is before the latest price hikes have taken effect.

Lisa Greenfield, Confused.com energy analyst, says: "It's worrying that energy prices keep rising, leaving many UK residents struggling to pay their bills. However it's encouraging to see people adapting to this by consciously thinking about energy saving ways. Over 75% of people think about saving energy and the 55+ age group appear to be the most energy conscious."

"We worry that people are taking extreme measures and are suffering in a bid to save energy, just by making simple changes like only using the dish washer when its full, turning your washing machine down to 30 degrees and not putting warm items in your fridge/freezer as it has to work harder to cool it down can save you money on an annual basis. However shopping around on a price comparison site and switching your tariff or supplier could save on average £248."

To get one-to-one advice from the Energy Saving Trust on how to cut your energy bills, join the Confused.com live webcast on Thursday, 27 October, at 12.30pm.

Here are some simple and more comfortable ways to save up to £1,000 a year on energy bills, without having to scrimp on the basics.


Simple steps to saving money

Saving per year

Energy Saving Lightbulbs

£3 per bulb

A rated new boiler

£300 (if you had a G rated boiler before)

Insulated hot water cylinder

£40

Installing a room thermostat

£70 (if you didn't have one previously)

Hot water tank thermostat

£30

Hot water tank insulation jacket

£40

Turning thermostat down one degree

£55

Turning off electrical items usually left on standby mode

£35

Install energy saving glazing in windows

£130

Cavity wall insulation

£110

Loft insulation

£145

Invest in an energy monitor

£110

Not overfilling your kettle

£20

Fill up your dishwasher

£75

Turn down your washing machine cycle to 30 degrees

£40

Total Savings:

£1,203


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