The unseasonably cold weather that marked the turn of the decade has lingered across much of Britain throughout January and February; in fact, current weather forecasts predict that snowy conditions may continue into March, which will cause concern for many people who are already worried about their winter energy bills.
New research produced by confused.com has revealed that 73% of British households are deeply concerned about the increased cost of energy bills that have resulted from the adverse weather. With energy bills already at peak levels in many parts of the country, fuel poverty has become a phrase with which many consumers are now associated; furthermore, with the exception of a temporary reduction in gas prices by British Gas, it is more than likely energy bills will increase substantially across all suppliers over the next ten years as a result of renewable energy measures and supply and demand factors affecting natural resources.
However, despite having faced the coldest British winter in 30 years and having to endure ongoing economic instability, the research has also revealed that 10% of British households are largely unfazed by their energy consumption habits. In fact, 1 in 10 households have admitted that they leave the central heating on at relatively high temperatures throughout the day – even when nobody is home; indeed, it would seem these consumers place the desire for a warm empty home above financial and environmental costs.
Regardless of the financial implications of leaving central heating systems blazing away throughout the day just so the occupiers can return to a warm home, the environmental issue ought not to be dismissed lightly. It is estimated that millions of tonnes of greenhouse gases may be unnecessarily released into the atmosphere during winter by energy inefficient households. This problem is compounded by houses that have not yet installed loft insulation, double glazing and cavity wall insulation. Nevertheless, financial concerns usually prevail over environmental issues at the domestic level, so if consumers are undeterred by higher energy bills as a result of inefficient consumption it is unlikely their habits will be changed any time soon.