Published On: Tue, Mar 24th, 2020

Coronavirus: Britons to spend £52 million a week on energy bills in shocking new figures


Research conducted by Uswitch.com – the comparison and switching service – found that with the surge in the number of people staying home due to the Coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, outbreak could lift Britain’s household energy bills by £52 million a week.

Cordelia Samson, an energy expert at Uswitch.com, said: “This is a hugely unsettling time for everyone, with many people staying at home who don’t normally, and some having to juggle looking after children at the same time.

“People will be thinking about vulnerable friends and relatives, so the last thing on their minds will be their energy bill.

“It’s great to see what energy firms are doing to keep the most vulnerable people supplied with gas and electricity, and we would urge all suppliers to continue to work together to protect those in need.”

She continued: “Working from home and entertaining children during the day means having the heating on when it wouldn’t usually be and using extra gas and electricity for cooking, making cups of tea, televisions, and computers.

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“The amount of extra energy households use will vary from home to home, but assuming a household with medium annual usage is at home for an extra 50 hours per week, we've estimated that they will probably use around 25 percent more electricity and 17 percent more gas right now.

“Across a whole year, this could increase bills for people on poor value Standard Variable Tariffs by almost £200 – around £16 a month.

“But don't forget that warmer lighter days are on their way, so while it looks like we could be stuck at home for quite a while, we probably won't need to use as much gas and electricity as we did over the winter.

“There are plenty of ways you can reduce the amount of energy use around your home, however, and if you're concerned about the amount you're paying, you should compare energy deals to see if there is a cheaper plan you can move to.”    

Top ten energy-saving tips for self-isolation

Saving energy in the kitchen

Use a microwave. Heat up food in the microwave as often as possible – it’s generally the most efficient way to heat up and cook food because its relatively small size means that a stronger level of heat can be focused on whatever’s being cooked.

Be water-conscious. When you’re boiling food in a pan, make sure you only use the amount of water needed to cover the amount of food you’re cooking, because boiling water you don’t need can waste a lot of gas or electricity.

• Leave enough defrosting time. Defrost frozen food in the fridge overnight or while you’re at work. Defrosting food in advance typically halves the cooking time and also means that you don’t need to use the energy of a microwave to defrost more quickly.

Use the right size pan. Always use a pan which is the right size for the amount of food you are cooking – this means you won’t waste energy while heating a bigger surface area than you need.

Energy-saving laundry tips

• Hang up your laundry. Air-dry your laundry rather than tumble-drying it, particularly if the weather is warm or windy.

Save electricity around the home

• Don’t leave anything plugged in that isn’t being used. A lot of wasted electricity occurs through leaving appliances plugged in that aren’t being used. Even charger cables that don’t have anything plugged into them, but are still connected to the socket, can waste electricity, so it’s often better to err on the side of caution by unplugging anything that isn’t being actively used and switching the power off at the plug.

Save energy around the house

• Stay warm, cut costs. Turning your thermostat down by just 1°C can save you as much as £75 per year.

• Layer up. Wearing jumpers, socks, and slippers around the house and putting an extra blanket on the bed means you won't be tempted to turn the heating up.

• Turn the lights off. When you leave a room, don’t leave the lights on unless you’re coming back.

Uswitch has many suggestions on different ways for consumers to reduce their energy use while working from home.  For more information see their useful guide here.



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