Energy rationing ‘set to be widespread’

The overwhelming majority of Britons are set to ration their energy use this winter, a survey has found.

Price comparison site uSwitch re…

The overwhelming majority of Britons are set to ration their energy use this winter, a survey has found.

Price comparison site uSwitch revealed its poll of consumers indicated 87 per cent would do this in a bid to keep bills down, even though this could mean having to put up with cold homes.

Director of consumer policy at the site Ann Robinson said: "Last winter, three quarters of households went without heating at some point to keep energy costs down and 15 per cent said it had affected their quality of life or health."

She said the situation could be even worse this year, with widespread "sacrifices in people's health and well-being".

For people in debt and therefore having to watch the bottom line particularly closely, the temptation to keep the heating off even when their home is cold could be very strong, but that may mean suffering from health problems as a result.

Ms Robinson made her comments ahead of the npower price hikes of 8.8 per cent for gas and 9.1 per cent for electricity coming into effect next Monday (November 26th). Analysing the overall effect of the changes announced by energy firms recently, uSwitch has calculated that the average home will end up paying an extra £108 a year.

Ministers have responded to concerns about prices by announcing a plan to simplify tariffs, making sure energy firms tell their customers if they can offer them a cheaper deal.

Kate Rose, the head of energy at another price comparison site, Confused, commented that this is a "positive step forward" as it may encourage people to realise they have options and shop around for the best deal.

However, she added, there is a danger that people may get "a false sense of security" and imagine that because they are on their own supplier's cheapest tariff that means there are not better options elsewhere.

Posted by Paul Thacker

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