New research from popular comparison website uSwitch.com has revealed energy bills have risen by a whopping 65% over the last five years. Five years ago we were paying around £227 a year less to heat our homes than we are now.
With heating and hot water accounting for almost 60% of the cost of our annual energy bills, according to data from uSwitch five years ago it would cost £360 a year on average to heat a home, but now householders are having to pay in the region of £587 a year for their heating.
At 44% heating our homes accounts for almost half of our bills. In light of recent hikes by five of the ‘Big Six’ energy provides – which has seen £90 on average added to household bills, £40 of which can be attributed to heating – it means the average annual energy bill for a household has climbed to an all time high of £1,334. Back in 2007 it was £819.
uSwitch data shows that three quarters of households chose to go without heating at some point during winter 2011 – that’s an estimated 19.5 million UK homes. It’s going to be a similar story this year, with nine in ten households saying they will have to ration the amount of energy they use this coming winter thanks to the soaring cost of energy.
Commenting on the recent energy price rises Ann Robinson, Director of Consumer Policy at Consumer Focus said more and more households felt they had little choice but to turn down or even turn off their heating completely to keep bills down. “This increase has knocked consumers for six, leaving many fearful of how they will afford to keep warm during the winter months and leading to growing numbers rationing their energy use even during the harshest weather.”
Heating remains the most costly expenditure for households, with hot water accounting for 13% of our bills and consumer electronics next on the list at 11%. Lighting, washing machines and fridges/ freezes account for 8% each whilst computers/durables and cooking achieve 4% each.
Consumer Focus is advising householders to take advantage of free or subsidized schemes to fit cavity wall insulation and loft insulation and to check they are on the lowest energy tariff possible or switch to a cheaper one if they are serious about reducing their energy bills. According to uSwitch there’s at least £300 difference between the cheapest and most expensive energy tariffs currently available to domestic energy customers.