Energy bills ‘number one financial headache for Brits’

Some 36 per cent of consumers are worried about the cost of their gas and electric bills.

Research by Behaviour Change has found the expense associ…

Some 36 per cent of consumers are worried about the cost of their gas and electric bills.

Research by Behaviour Change has found the expense associated with heating a home is now the number one financial headache facing Britons, which puts it ahead of mortgage or rent (15 per cent), petrol bills (12 per cent) and food costs (11 per cent).

The situation has been compounded by the fact all six of the main energy providers have increased their tariffs in the past few months, which means consumers are facing wallet-busting bills.

It comes after analysis by MoneySupermarket.com discovered households typically use 40 per cent of their annual energy consumption across the winter months and so their next bill will cost around £530.

Individuals could therefore be on the verge of having debt troubles if they do not have enough money set aside to cover this bill. If consumers do find themselves suffering from financial hardship, then seeking out debt help is essential and action should be taken as soon as possible.

Despite widespread concern about the cost of heating a home, householders are not showing much enthusiasm for energy efficiency measures. If people green their home, then their bills would reduce over time.

However, only eight per cent of consumers questioned feel the Green Deal will make a big difference in making their homes more energy efficient.

David Hall, executive director of Behaviour Change, said: "The public have not yet twigged that energy efficiency is the best way to insulate themselves against rising bills. While the Green Deal is a great start in changing this perception, more work is needed to help people understand the benefits of energy efficiency in keeping their bills under control.

"Our research shows that a more comprehensive national plan, including a new package of sticks and carrots, will be required to create the kind of mainstream acceptance that is needed."

By Amy White

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