Annual utility costs and council tax underestimated by an average of £770, survey suggests

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1st December 2014 13:31 - Utilities

Households in Britain underestimate their annual council tax and utility bills by £770, research by Santander finds.

On average, a household spends up to £3,329 on utility bills annually. However, those questioned approximated that they spend £2,559 on utility bills per year - £770 less than the confirmed average.

These utilities include: electricity, gas, water, telephones, television and council tax.

What Brits think they spend annually on utilities vs what they actually spend:


Estimated Spend 2014

Annual Spend 2014

Under/over estimation 2014

Under/overestimation 2013

Council tax



£721 under

£672 under




£279 under

£243 under




£91 under

£72 under




£65 under

£146 over




£386 over

£374 over




£770 under

£467 under

Source: Santander

Santander suggested that one reason behind this underestimation may be a lack of engagement between their estimated and actual household spend.

Of those questioned, over a quarter (26 per cent) admitted to not reading their bills thoroughly and 4 per cent do not open them at all.

Also, 13 per cent revealed that they have never had their meter read or cannot recall the last time they supplied one for gas or electricity.

It can be seen from the findings that the difference between a household’s actual and approximated spends have grown by £303 (65 per cent) since 2013.

The survey by Santander comes on the heels of an alternative survey, by Legal & General, which revealed that millions of Brits are hesitant to discuss their finances.

Some 40 per cent of Brits claimed that their finances are amongst their biggest worries. However, nearly 50 per cent do not consider money to be a topic that should be discussed as it is of a personal nature.

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