Third of UK families ‘struggle to pay energy bills’

A third of families in the UK struggle to pay their energy bills. That’s according to price comparison site uSwitch, which reveals four million homes are already worrying about potential costs this winter. […]

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By Jonny Bairstow

A third of families in the UK struggle to pay their energy bills.

That’s according to price comparison site uSwitch, which reveals four million homes are already worrying about potential costs this winter.

This could be made even worse by suppliers raising their prices for the first time in nearly three years, it adds.

Approximately half of all families plan to cut their bills by rationing heating in their homes, with a third saying they will try to suffer through the cold rather than turn the heating on.

More than 65% worry about the subsequent health effects of doing this, especially upon their children.

Single parents have it even harder, with 43% saying their house is already too cold but they can’t afford to do anything about it.

While the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has suggested remedies must be implemented quickly to combat this, the price comparison site is urging the government to extend the Warm Home Discount scheme to support more vulnerable consumers.

Claire Osborne, Energy Expert at uSwitch.com said: “The biggest worry is that, with signs that prices are on the up, many more families could feel forced to keep the heating down in what’s set to be a very cold winter. When you consider that millions of households are already in debt to their energy supplier, it’s a stark warning that consumers feel they have no other option than to ration their energy.”

However, the government’s recent survey showed consumer concerns about being able to afford energy bills are at the lowest point since 2012.