UK household energy bills to soar by £32 per month


British households’ energy bills are set to rise by a third, with an average increase of £32 per month, as consumers use more energy while confined to their homes.

During the nationwide shutdown, usage of home appliances including dishwashers, washing machines, ovens, televisions and lighting has soared, according to new research from the price comparison site comparethemarket.com.

The website found that almost three-quarters (72%) of the 2,000 consumers they surveyed reported increased energy use during the lockdown, with almost half of people (48%) saying more members of the household were working from home.

The extra usage could lead to a 37% rise in energy bills, according to the price comparison site, which it calculates would push up household bills by £32.31 per month on average, or £387 over a year.

If households continue to work from home over a longer period of time, the website estimates the average annual cost of a combined gas and electricity bill could rise from around £1,034 to £1,421.

Higher energy bills were a concern for almost half of those surveyed (44%), who worry that working from home could lead to unaffordable bills.

Consumers are currently saving money usually spent on eating out and travel, said Peter Earl, head of energy at comparethemarket.com, but increased time indoors will lead to greater energy usage.

“Many are understandably worried about how they will manage this increased cost, particularly if they are a high energy consumption household,” he said.

Around a third of households (36%) say that they are turning down their central heating during the day, and over a quarter (27%) are limiting how much lighting they use.

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The price comparison site recommends consumers contact their energy provider or consider switching supplier to find a better deal.

As many as 15m UK households are on their suppliers’ least-competitive standard variable tariff, according to energy regulator Ofgem, which costs on average £362 per year more than the cheapest fixed tariffs available on the market.

Ofgem’s latest price cap for households on standard variable tariffs, which is designed to guarantee a fair price for energy customers, was lowered on 1 April, and will remain in place for six months.

However, the latest price cap was calculated before recent falls in wholesale energy prices to 10-year lows.



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