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13.6m* households forced to ration their energy use this winter

25 October 2016
  • 77% of homeowners forced to ration their energy use due to cost
  • 30% of homeowners haven’t switched energy supplier for three years or more;
  • 17% have never changed supplier;
  • Customers switching their energy suppliers with Gocompare.com Energy could cut their bills by £366**.

Over three quarters*** (77%) of homeowners will take steps to ration the amount of energy they use this winter.  Energy saving tactics will include leaving it as long as possible before turning on the central heating, leaving rooms unheated and reducing the use of energy-hungry appliances.   

The research, commissioned by Gocompare.com Energy, found that 32% of homeowners will have to actively manage the amount of heating they use this winter, with one in 10 worried about how they will pay their fuel bills and 7% expecting to make cutbacks elsewhere to be able to afford to heat their homes.

However, the survey also revealed that many homeowners are missing the opportunity to slash £100s off their gas and electricity bills by not shopping around for their energy.  Nearly a third (30%) said they hadn’t changed supplier for three years or more, while 17% admitted they had never switched energy supplier.    

Ways that homeowners will reduce the amount of energy they use this winter include:

  • Turning the thermostat down (41%);
  • Leaving it as long as possible before turning the heating on (33%);
  • Not heating unused rooms (27%);
  • Heating their home for less time than they would like (26%);
  • Using the shower rather than heating water for a bath (24%);
  • Stop using, or use less often, energy-hungry appliances such as tumble dryers and dishwashers (18%).

To combat the cold, just under a third (32%) of those surveyed plan to snuggle up under blankets and duvets around the house, 24% will fill a hot water bottle and 12% will dig out their thermal underwear.  To keep warm in bed, 38% will sleep in pyjamas or other sleepwear, a quarter will keep cold feet at bay with bed socks, while 11% say they will be forced to wear items of clothing to bed.

Commenting on the research Ben Wilson, spokesperson for Gocompare.com Energy, said: “For many people, energy bills represent a significant proportion of their household expenditure.  So it makes sense to find ways to cut the cost of winter bills when household energy use tends to be at its highest.      

“But instead of going without - now is a good time to shop around to see if you can reduce the cost of your gas and electricity by switching to a better tariff.  Our survey suggests that there are many homeowners who have either never switched or have stuck with the same supplier for three years or more.  Chances are these people are charged their suppliers’ standard variable rate – so will be paying way over the odds for their energy.  According to our latest figures, customers switching gas and electricity supplier with Gocompare.com Energy could slash their energy bills by as much as £366.

“Switching energy suppliers is quick and easy, particularly if you use a comparison website which will allow you to compare tariffs offered by a range of providers.  Log-on to a comparison website armed with recent bills from your current supplier, which will show details of your energy usage, and find a deal which best suits your needs. After a two week cooling off period, your new supplier will contact you with follow up information about your service switchover - during which, there should be no disruption to your energy supply.”

For more information see Gocompare.com's guide on how to save money on your gas and electricity bills

- ENDS -

Notes to editors:

*13.6m calculation based on: 77% of homeowners who will take measures to reduce the amount of energy they use this winter; according to the ONS (2015) there are 28 million households in the UK of which 17.7m are owner-occupied as opposed to rented. 77% of 17.7m is 13.6m.

**At least 51% of customers who received a price for switching energy supplier for both gas and electricity with Gocompare.com saved £366 or more (1st April - 30th June 2016).

-***On 30 September 2016, Bilendi conducted an online survey among 1,283 randomly selected British adults who are Maximiles UK panelists who are homeowners.  The margin of error-which measures sampling variability-is +/- 2.2%. The results have been statistically weighted according to the most current education, age, gender and regional data to ensure samples representative of the entire adult population of United Kingdom. Discrepancies in or between totals are due to rounding.