More than half turned their heating off last winter to reduce bills

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26th May 2015 12:02 - Utilities

A recent survey has found that millions of people let their house go cold during winter to keep their heating bills down. Some residents54 per cent of homeowners went cold this winter to reduce bills even reported wearing hats and scarves indoors to avoid switching on their heating.

According to the uSwitch survey, customers of energy companies are not convinced that the cost of bills will decrease, despite the recent round of cuts by energy providers, which started in January.

The survey of 1,000 consumers found that 54 per cent had endured cold temperatures at home due to the cost of gas and electricity. Around 25 per cent said that they had gone without heating to keep their bills down.

uSwitch said that if these findings were applied to the rest of the country, more than 6 million households would have switched their heating off to save money.

More than 1 in 3 believed that the cuts they made had affected their quality of life and their health.

The respondents were also asked what they did to stay warm. Approximately 40 per cent said that they left their oven door open to heat their house. A quarter, said that they wore a coat, hat or scarf inside, 12 per cent visited a family or friend and 7 per cent went to public places, such as a library or café.

uSwitch said that a typical household would pay £1,242 on energy this year, up £705 from ten years ago.

Debt charity, StepChange said that it had seen the number of people finding paying energy prices rise dramatically over the last few years. Last year (2014), 23,355 people were in arrears on their gas bills and 36,853 were behind on electricity bills.

In the period between 2010 and 2014, the amount of consumers who were in arrears on their gas bills rose by 6.9 per cent. As well as this, over the same period, the average debt rose from £403 to £541.

The amount of people finding paying their electricity bills hard rose at a similar pace as gas, and the typical debt rose from £452 to £594.

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