High energy bills forced 'ice age' winter on BritsEnergy consumers admit to rationing their heating

23 March 2010

The affordability of energy has come under the spotlight, as a new survey reveals the extreme measures taken by Brits to keep warm this winter.

Nearly 70% of Brits cut down or rationed their energy use this winter, despite it being the coldest winter in 30 years, according to uSwitch.

Some households went without heating only occasionally, but 12% admitted to regularly going without in order to cut energy costs.

To ensure you’re not paying over the odds for your energy bills, you can compare the latest energy tariffs using Which? Switch, Which?'s independent energy comparison and switching service.

Energy saving measures

Brits struggled to keep their energy costs down this winter and admitted to using a variety of measures to reduce their energy consumption:

  • 50% wrapped themselves in a blanket when sitting at home
  • 32% left the oven door open after cooking
  • 27% used just one or two rooms in their house
  • 10% left their homes and went to see family and friends or to the local library to get warm.

Worryingly, 12% of those surveyed said the cutbacks they made have affected their health or quality of life.

Cut your energy bills

Head of switching at Which? Switch Alison Morrison advises: ‘To avoid huge energy bills next winter, act now.

‘Consider the energy efficiency measures you could take to reduce your energy usage and ensure you are paying the cheapest prices for your energy, by comparing energy tariffs and switching to the best deal.’

Our greener living section has advice on buying loft insulation, wall insulation and how to get energy grants. You can also find out the most energy efficient home appliances Which? has reviewed in our energy saving appliances review.

‘Ice age’ winter

Director of consumer policy at uSwitch Ann Robinson said: ‘The reality is that many households were forced into a self-imposed ‘ice age’ this winter.

‘This isn’t just shameful – it raises a huge question mark over the ongoing affordability of energy in Britain, and this is something that now needs to be tackled as a matter of urgency.’

Which? is currently campaigning to get a fairer deal for consumers on a range of energy issues. Keep up-to-date with our successes so far on our page.

Lower your gas and electricity bills

You can compare energy prices and switch to a new gas and electricity supplier on Which? Switch. People who switched with us between 1 October and 31 December 2013 are predicted to save an average of £234 a year on their bills.

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