CHESTER, England, October 20, 2011 /PRNewswire/ --
- Six per cent however say they can't afford to turn on the heating
- Seventeen per cent will only switch on when the weather gets really cold
- Bill payers could save £237 by shopping around, says MoneySupermarket.com
Following a warmer than usual Autumn, this week's cooler weather has resulted in over half of households (54 per cent) switching on their heating, but one in four households are refusing to turn on their heating as rising energy prices hit home. A worrying six per cent of households cannot afford to heat their homes and a further seventeen per cent will only flick the 'on' switch if the weather gets really cold, according to a poll by MoneySupermarket.com.
With energy bills high on the agenda, a staggering 13,700 MoneySupermarket.com site users responded to an online poll about their heating habits. It found over a third (36 per cent) of energy customers have turned on their heating in the last week. A further eleven per cent have done so in the last two weeks and nine per cent have been heating their homes since last month. Almost one in five consumers (17 per cent) are planning to switch on their heating soon.
Scott Byrom, energy manager at MoneySupermarket.com, said: "Energy bills are certainly a 'hot topic' at the moment with the government urging consumers to take control and switch to cheaper deals. With households across the UK switching on their heating, and the threat of more colder weather predicted for later this week, bill payers will no doubt be concerned about how they are going to be able afford their energy bills. Our survey found that worryingly six per cent of respondents can't afford to turn on their heating - the latest round of price increases added an average 17.4 per cent to the cost of gas and 10.8 per cent to the cost of electricity, resulting in average annual standard bills of £1,287. Moving from a standard tariff to the best fixed deal would save 15 per cent on the cost of bills, which goes someway to limit the impact of the price hikes.
"With the cost of living soaring, particularly driven by higher energy bills, now is not the time to be apathetic, especially as we head into Winter where bill payers typically use around 40 per cent of their annual energy consumption during these months. Consumers can, however, take action to reduce their energy bills by making sure they are on the best energy deal for their usage and region. Finding the right tariff means bill payers could save on average £237 per year. For example, the cheapest online tariff available is npower's Sign Online 24 with annual bills of £1,050 on average, but, for the same price, consumers can protect themselves against future price rises with either EDF Energy's Fix for 2012 tariff with bills fixed at £1,050 until December 31st 2012, or OVO Energy's New Energy Fixed product which is a set price for 12 months from the point the deal is taken out, however, the OVO tariff is not available in all Regions of the UK. My advice is to go for the fixed tariff option as the peace of mind will be a big bonus for those who are worried that energy bills are only heading in one direction, and that's up."
Notes to Editors:
Have you turned your heating on yet?
- Yes - in the last week - 35.6%
- Yes - in the last two weeks - 11.2%
- Yes - last month - 8.6%
- Yes - I keep it on all year - 3.5%
- No - but I will soon - 17.1%
- No - I can't afford to - 5.8%
- No - I only switch it on when it's really cold - 16.8%
- No - I don't have central heating - 1.4%
Total responses: 13,760
 Quarterly energy consumption break down based on typical annual household consumption:
Quarter Electricity (%) Gas (%) Combined (%) 13 August 2007 - 12 November 2007 21.3 14.2 17.75 13 November 2007 - 15 February 2008 32.9 45.9 39.4 16 February 2008 - 16 May 2008 25.1 29.6 27.35 17 May 2008 - 17 November 2008 20.7 10.3 15.5
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