Struggling woman with £15k household income ‘too scared to turn heating on’ | Personal Finance | Finance

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High energy bills have put huge financial, physical and emotional strains on customers with households trying to cut back on their energy usage.

Millions were scared to turn on their heating last winter as they could not afford any extra energy costs, Which? found.

A woman with an annual household income of less than £15,000 told Which?: “It has had a negative impact in all aspects of my life. I really struggle, we are always cold at home [but] I’m too scared to put the heating on.”

Another woman with an annual household income of less than £10,000 said: “I have multiple disabilities, one being fibromyalgia, and I can’t afford to put any form of heating on which is causing increased pain. It’s excruciating and therefore affecting everything I do.”

Which?’s research also found that some consumers – such as lower-income households and those aged 45-64 years old – are more likely than others to not turn the heating on when it is cold. 

As the cost-of-living crisis continues to bite, many older Britons on low incomes are at risk at becoming ill if they do not keep warm in their homes.

Four in 10 of those surveyed were worried that their ability to recover from illness is worse now than before the cost of living crisis began. 

Which?’s research demonstrates just how many consumers have had to make severe cutbacks to afford their energy bills – putting their own health at risk in the process.

Even with the recent drop in energy prices, bills are still almost double what they were before the energy crisis. 

The next energy price cap will be in place from the start of October until the end of December.

A new forecast from Cornwall Insight suggests that the amount the average household on a standard tariff will pay for its energy bills is set to fall by around £150 per year from October 1.

Ofgem’s next price cap is due to be announced on Friday, August 25 and is expected to drop to around £1,925, according to the energy analysts, whose previous predictions have been pretty accurate.

Emily Seymour, Which? Energy Editor, said: “It’s hugely concerning that an estimated 13 million households have not switched the heating on when it’s cold due to fears of high energy bills. 

“Our research shows that certain groups – such as lower-income households and families with children – are more likely to be left in the cold this winter. 

“The government and energy firms need to act now to help those most in need make ends meet over the winter.”

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