Energy bills push Brits to choose woollens over heating

09 November 2009 / by Rachael Stiles

As energy bills remain high and the weather gets colder, Brits are choosing to increase the layers of clothing rather than the thermostat in a bid to keep costs down this winter.

Price comparison website moneysupermarket.com has found that 750,000 Brits will choose put on another woolly jumper rather than turn up the central heating, to save money on their energy bills.

But not all members of cost-conscious British households agree, with a quarter admitting that the battle of the heating dial causes disputes between family members or housemates.

In addition to the quarter of a million plan to wear an extra layer this winter instead of using the heating, a further five million will delay turning on the hearing for as long as possible.

Of those who will delay turning on the heating, two thirds are doing so to save money on their energy bills, but nearly 20 per cent admitted that they have no choice because they cannot afford to pay their fuel bills.

"It seems the boiler battle is on," said Scott Byrom, utilities manager at moneysupermarket.com. "There is no doubt many of us will be worried about an expensive energy bill landing on the doormat in January; with the Christmas period proving costly for most, Brits will be looking to nurse their finances in the New Year and being hit with an unexpectedly high fuel bill at this time will be a financial strain.

On average, Brits use 40 per cent of their annual fuel consumption between the months of November and January, Mr Byrom added, so acting to cut their energy use is a savvy move, but he warns against the dangers of not using heating at all during the colder months, especially where children and the elderly are concerned.

Rather than doing away with the heating altogether, he recommends some other measures to save money on energy bills, such as swapping to a monthly direct debit scheme and switching to an online energy plan.

"By shopping around and finding the best deal for your area you could save yourself on average £261 a year as well as keeping those New Year financial headaches to a minimum," Mr Byrom said.

Some other recommendations from moneysupermarket for reducing energy use include turning the thermostat down, even if only by 1°C, as this can cut 10 per cent off heating bills, switching off lights and electrical appliances when not in use, investing in roof insulation, only heating rooms when they are in use, closing the curtains as soon as it gets dark, and switching to energy-saving lightbulbs.

© Fair Investment Company Ltd