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Gas and electricity bills force 44% to cut back on essentials

18 March 2009 / by Rebecca Sargent
Huge winter energy bills have forced more than four in ten bill payers to cut back on essentials, research from Consumer Focus has revealed.

The figures have been released to highlight, "the misery being caused to millions of Brits by huge winter gas and electricity bills, which are now hitting doormats around the country."

According to Consumer Focus, 65 per cent of Brits have been left shocked by huge energy bills, while 59 per cent believe that the recently announced price cuts will make little difference.

Commenting, Jonathan Stearn, Consumer Focus energy expert said: "It is disgraceful that huge winter bills are causing such misery for so many of the most vulnerable families, pensioners and disabled people. Recent meagre energy price cuts will barely dent fuel poverty levels."

According to, the recent energy price cuts amount to £56 a year, when energy prices increased by £381 last year. As a result, Brits are still paying £3.7billion more than before the energy price hikes.

Commenting, Ann Robinson, director of consumer policy at said: "To cash strapped consumers this 4.3 per cent or £56 dip in energy prices will seem like a drop in the ocean, especially when compared with last year's 42 per cent or £381 price hike.

"Those who were relying on price cuts to bring their energy bills down to a more manageable level will be particularly disappointed. But there could be greater disappointment to come if energy prices start their steady climb upwards again next year."

Speaking of how to cut energy bills, Ms Robinson added: "Consumers could actually cut their own energy bills by up to £350 just by switching.

"They should move to dual fuel, pay by direct debit and sign up to an online plan to enjoy lower prices straight away. They should then make it a priority to always pay the lowest possible price for their energy and use less of it. These two simple steps are everyone's most effective deterrent to soaring energy bills."

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