Eight in ten households set to ration energy usage this winter

Price hikes will leave eight in ten households (78 per cent) rationing their energy usage this winter, according to new research from uSwitch.com.

Price hikes will leave eight in ten households (78 per cent) rationing their energy usage this winter, according to new research from uSwitch.com.

Several firms have already increased their fees, with the likes of British Gas, Npower, SSE and Scottish Power claiming wholesale prices and government green subsidies leave them with no choice.

With energy prices being so high, it is no surprise it is the primary household worry for consumers (90 per cent), ahead of the rising cost of food (75 per cent), petrol prices (66 per cent) and council tax (49 per cent).

Incredibly, the average household bill after the recent pricing announcements will soon hit around £1,434 a year. This means 59 per cent of properties will be rationing their heating use, while 36 per cent will be forced to turn it off entirely.

Sadly, the escalating cost of living is forcing people into debt with four in ten turning to credit cards, overdrafts, loans and other forms of borrowing to pay their essential household bills. More than a fifth (21 per cent) are concerned about this debt and 13 per cent have gone into the red by more than £2,500.

Last winter, seven in ten households (69 per cent) went without heating at some point to keep their energy bills down. Worryingly, more than a third (35 per cent) said this had affected their quality of life or health.

Ann Robinson, director of consumer policy at uSwitch.com, said: "This winter we will be seeing even more going without adequate heating for fear of racking up a bill they cannot afford – this is the grim reality for many households in Britain today."

Some 94 per cent of consumers now say they have less disposable income to play with because of the rising cost of energy – two per cent more than last year. Two in ten claim they no longer have any disposable income left at all, while over a third (35 per cent) place the blame on the cost of energy.

By Joe White

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