Christmas spending slashed to pay for energy bills83% try to make savings to pay for gas and electricity

21 December 2011

Which? research shows that most people are planning to cut back this Christmas to help pay for soaring gas and electricity bills. 

Six in ten people are worried about the cost of energy this Christmas, with the vast majority making cutbacks to keep the cost of their bills down. 

We found that over half of consumers are putting on extra clothes indoors. One in seven people will give 'warming' gifts such as hot water bottles, and one in six will limit their use of Christmas lights.

However, only a few will think about switching their energy tariff or call their supplier to find a cheaper deal. Only one in ten people plan to switch to a cheaper energy tariff, and even fewer plan to call their supplier. 

Richard Lloyd, executive director of Which? said: 'Rising energy bills are a huge worry for consumers, but with the current lack of trust in energy companies, it's no surprise that many are choosing to cut back on heating rather than searching for a cheaper deal.'

A frugal Christmas?

Alongside the survey, we asked people what cutbacks they were making this Christmas, and received over 1,200 responses. Many said they'd be wrapping up warm, or turning down the thermostat. Others said they'd be forgoing presents for friends or buying budget food instead of treats. 

Laura told us: 'We try to have the heating and electric on as little as possible, but I feel the cold a lot and my health isn't great, so we have to have it on a reasonable amount.'

Gemma said: 'I have already made cut backs. I've got nothing left to cut back on. The increase in energy prices leaves me questioning what will happen to me this winter. Maybe the only answer is living in a cold house.'

John is cutting back on other things: 'I've cut back elsewhere: sent fewer cards, and I'm using the car far less, walking and using my bus pass instead.'

See how else consumers are cutting back for Christmas. 

Switch and save

One way to make significant gas and electricity savings is to check that you are on the cheapest energy deal. Which? Switch gives a transparent, impartial view of all current gas and electricity tariffs. 

Richard Lloyd said: 'Our advice to customers is to compare all the available offers using an independent comparison website or phone line to get the best deal.'

He added: 'Switching is actually much easier to do than you might think and can save you money.'

Affordable energy 

Switching can give people a quick way to make savings on their bills, but Which? is campaigning for more affordable energy for everyone. We've taken all of the responses from consumers about their Christmas cutbacks and today we'll be delivering them to energy secretary Chris Huhne.

We'd like Chris Huhne to see how consumers are struggling this Christmas, and take action to help Which? get more affordable energy for all UK consumers. 

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