Energy bills up 20% during coldest winter for 30 years

Energy bills up 20% during coldest winter for 30 years

02 February 2010 / by Rachael Stiles

Winter energy bills will bigger than ever as the UK faces the coldest winter for 30 years, rising 27 per cent on last year's bills, according to moneysupermarket.com.

The price comparison website is warning households that they should prepare themselves for the highest winter energy bills they have ever seen, a rise of £104 compared to last winter.

And, where possible, householders are urged to cut down on their energy consumption to lessen the blow.

Households have already suffered rising energy bills as wholesale prices have gone up over recent years, with average bills increasing 127 per cent since 2003.

While gas and electricity providers cut energy prices last year, it was not nearly enough to counteract the significant increases seen in 2008, and existing customers on standard tariffs have scarcely benefitted from the price cuts, moneysupermarket.com explains.

This winter will result in 183 per cent higher energy bills on average, as higher prices combine with the coldest winter this country has seen for three decades, and those paying for their energy quarterly could be in for a nasty surprise as this is the most expensive way to pay for gas and electricity.

Scott Byrom, utilities manager at moneysupermarket.com, said that in light of the higher winter energy bills, it is "extremely important for bill payers to address this issue and do what ever they can to reduce their bills going forward."

He continued, "Although there were price decreases throughout 2009 the majority of these price moves were to providers' online tariffs rather than to standard tariffs. With the backdrop of recession, a very cold winter and higher than usual energy consumption, people need to think seriously about how they will pay for their usage."

Mr Byron suggests that this should encourage householders to swap energy provider in order to get a more competitive deal. "The prospect of forking out for a chunky winter bill should be the catalyst to swap to the best tariff for their region and consumption," he said, "as well at actively trying to be more energy efficient and reducing the amount of energy they use to save money."

Moneysupermarket.com recommends that consumers switch to an online energy plan to save on their energy bills, and that they turn the thermostat down by just one degree, which can shave as much as 10 per cent off their energy bills.

It also outlines other measures which households can take, such as turning off lights and appliances, ensuring their homes are sufficiently insulated, turning off radiators in unused rooms, drawing the curtains and blinds as soon as it gets dark, switching to energy-saving light bulbs, and draught-proofing their homes.

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