The winter weather has well and truly kicked in for most parts of the UK, and it would seem that concerns about energy bills are creeping higher up the agenda on the consumer worry list. So are you concerned about your winter bills?
I think I, like many, had gotten used to the balmy weather of 2016. But the new year has brought with it a change in our weather fortunes, with forecasts predicting an icy January on its way, and with some areas of the UK already plunging to -7°C.
For someone who really doesn’t like the cold, I wasn’t taking any chances and decided to don two jackets just to leave the house today.
While most wouldn’t resort to such extreme measures, many people may find they’re reaching for their thermostats more frequently to counter the cold.
Coupled with the dropping temperatures, are the reports of rising wholesale energy prices, which makes up a large proportion of the average consumer energy bill.
So it’s not surprising that energy prices have climbed their way to the top of our consumer worry list, alongside fuel prices and public spending cuts.
When we took a look at the biggest concerns bothering consumers, our research found that nearly two thirds (64%) of people said they were worried about energy prices – that’s a rise of eight percentage points since September.
And what’s more, there’s growing distrust in the energy industry – our research found that a third (35%) of consumers now distrust the sector, that’s a rise of six percentage points.
While some energy suppliers have temporarily frozen their standard tariff prices this winter, these tariffs are generally the most expensive deals on the market and won’t protect those customers from the price hikes set to kick in this year.
Restoring trust won’t be easy. But as a starter for ten, our Fair Energy Prices campaign has challenged energy suppliers to publish a plan by 31 January to set out how they will help customers currently on poor value tariffs.
With only weeks to go, not one energy company has published their plan… but there’s still time! We’re keeping the pressure up and expect energy companies to take helping their customers with energy bills seriously.
So, tell us, are you worried about your winter energy bills? Would you like to see energy companies do more to help their customers?