One in four consumers live in fear of their billsHigh energy prices are top financial concern

29 September 2011


Rising bills are causing so much stress that financially-stretched consumers are putting off paying them, new research has revealed.

A quarter of UK adults instantly get stressed or worried whenever they receive a bill, while one in five bill payers are delaying opening and paying their bills because they're too afraid to deal with them, according to a survey by 

Which?'s own research has shown that energy prices are consumers' biggest financial concern at the moment.

Which? executive director Richard Lloyd said: 'People tell us that energy prices are their number one financial worry, so it's no surprise that they get stressed before opening their bills. One way to help reduce this anxiety would be to make it easier for consumers to find out about cheaper deals with clear, straightforward information on their bills. Which? also wants to see excessively complex tariffs stamped out, and we're campaigning for the regulator Ofgem to do just that.'

Simpler bills needed

A recent Which? investigation asked 36 people - including a solicitor, an engineer and an accountant - to try and work out their energy bill using nothing but information from their energy supplier's website. Just one - a company director – could do it.

A simpler format for energy tariffs would mean everyone pays a fairer price for their energy, and can compare the cost between companies quickly and easily.

That's why the first goal of our Affordable Energy campaign is to convince Ofgem to introduce one simple format for all tariffs. 

Use our simple email form to write to Ofgem's chief executive to show your support.

Political support

Energy has been a recurring theme at this month's political party conferences, with energy and climate secretary Chris Huhne, his Labour shadow Meg Hillier, and Labour leader Ed Miliband all raising concerns with the energy market that Which? has recently highlighted.

Tim Yeo, chair of the Energy and Climate Change Select Committee, has also offered Which? his support for our campaign for simpler tariffs. Mr Yeo said: 'I welcome Which?'s investigation into the complexity of energy tariffs. The Energy and Climate Change Select Committee will return to this issue if no action is taken.'

More on this...

  • Email Ofgem's chief executive to ask him to tackle tariffs
  • Read our guide to understanding your energy bill
  • Get advice on cutting your energy costs