Electric heating bills could rise by £282 a yearHigher bills for millions predicted by 2020

07 June 2013

Energy bill with light bulb on top

Consumers that use electricity to heat their home could see their energy bills increase by £282 a year by 2020.

The government wants more of our energy to come from low-carbon sources and for consumers to use less energy. Most of the energy plans to achieve this will be funded through consumers' energy bills. 

In a new report, watchdog Consumer Futures estimates that the 1.3 million households that use electric heating will be hardest hit by the government's plans to cut greenhouse gas emissions and decarbonise the energy market. 

Programmes such as the Energy Company Obligation (ECO), which provides support for energy efficiency measures, are paid for out of consumers' energy bills. Only certain low-income and vulnerable people are now eligible for free measures under this programme.

Those using electric heating tend to be on lower incomes than those using other forms of heating, with only 27% benefiting from the energy policies compared with 40% of all consumers, according to the report. 

Optimistic energy bill savings

Consumer Futures also believes that the government has been over-optimistic in its estimates of how much money consumers could save due to energy efficiency measures and switching to 'greener' products, such as a more efficient boiler. 

The government claims that on average most households will save £166 on their energy bills in 2020 because of new energy efficiency measures but Consumer Futures puts that figure at just £31. 

Cutting energy bills

Although energy bills are likely to rise in the future, there are a number of things you can do to help cut your energy usage and therefore save money:

  • Make sure you're on the cheapest energy tariff for you by using Which? Switch to compare and change energy supplier.
  • Use your heating controls effectively - turning your thermostat down by just 1°C could save you £55 a year.
  • Buy energy-saving appliances where possible - you could save up to £93 a year.
  • Use an energy monitor to keep track of how much electricity you use so you can see where you can save.
  • Look at getting your loft insulated - it could save you up to £320.
  • Consider whether you could benefit from installing solar panels, which will allow you to generate your own energy.

More on this... 

  • See our five top tips to avoid your energy company overcharging 
  • Find out about the Green Deal
  • Make a difference by joining our Affordable Energy Campaign