Energy bills at breaking point

Millions of households would struggle to pay their energy bills if they went up, while one in six are already finding it tough to cover what they owe.

As autumn sends temperatures tumbling, a MoneySuperMarket poll has found millions of energy bill payers are at breaking point.  An increase of just £10 a month would be unaffordable for one in 10 of those polled, while an £18 increase would put 21 million households into difficulty.

‘Warm before the storm’

69% of those polled by MoneySuperMarket said they were concerned about bills increasing as a result of colder weather, while 28% said they were very concerned.

“It’s worrying to see so many are already struggling with monthly energy bills”

Stephen Murray, energy expert at MoneySuperMarket, said: “Sadly, a mild few months has just been the ‘warm before the storm’ for British bill payers.

“It’s worrying to see so many are already struggling with monthly energy bills, and are bracing themselves for not only a dramatic change in the weather, but the higher consumption that comes with keeping a house warm in the colder months and the higher bills as a result.”

According to the Met Office’s outlook for the next few months, weather coming in from the Atlantic could bring unsettled conditions throughout November and December – which is fairly typical for the time of year.

It also says that prevailing weather patterns during winter could bring in colder weather from the rapidly cooling Continent, bringing down temperatures for us.

Cut backs

Stephen says making cutbacks will be the reality for many this winter in order to pay their energy bills.

30% of those polled said they would spend less on the weekly grocery shopping or swap brands for supermarket equivalents to save money. A third said they’d cut back on treats such as eating out, while one in five said they would sell some of their belongings to pay their energy bills.

Stephen added: “With so many Brits concerned with increasing energy usage and bills, it’s no surprise that cut-backs are on the nation’s agenda. Large savings can be made simply by shopping around and switching energy providers. Using a comparison tool allows you to compare the best tariff for you and households searching through MoneySuperMarket can save as much as £184 by switching.”

Switch before Christmas

If you’re worried about your paying for your energy bills, you now know that you’re not alone – and that there’s something you can do about it. Switch now and you should be sorted before the worst of the winter temperatures hit.

It takes a few minutes, and most of the hassle is taken care of by your current energy supplier and the new one. What’s more, you’ll never have your gas or electricity turned off during the switch, and there’s no need for digging or drilling and you’ll keep the same meter.

I’ve even written a simple step-by-step guide to walk you through the switch, if you’re not confident about it. You can find it here.

Please note: any rates or deals mentioned in this article were available at the time of writing. Click on a highlighted product and apply direct.

* 51% could save at least £199, MoneySuperMarket Data, September 2014

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