Keeping our homes warm is one of the biggest concerns for Brits this winter. But what will motivate us to take action to keep our bills down – and do we really need to see details of our neighbours’ consumption?
If you didn’t hear anything about energy bills in the news last week, I’ll assume you were on holiday or wearing blinkers.
Numerous reports came out to tie in with Energy Saving Week, and for once, they were all singing from the same songsheet – people are worrying about the costs of their energy bills.
Here at Which? we haven’t ignored the issue either. Our recent study revealed that half of Brits are worried about being able to afford their heating bills this winter, with one in ten concerned about a close relative.
Keeping the costs down
But while it’s safe to say that most of us aren’t looking forward to the prospect of the next confusing energy bill coming our way, what are we actually prepared to do about keeping costs down?
We asked people exactly this – and here’s what they said:
- Seven in ten people plan to put on extra clothes while indoors.
- Half will block drafts under doors and windows
- Four in ten will have a warm drink or meal.
- Three in ten will try to switch energy supplier or check for a cheaper tariff with their current supplier to cut bills.
Sounds great in theory, but when push comes to shove how many of us actually bother to make changes to our house? My Victorian-semi is pretty draughty, but I’ve still stupidly put up with the chills for two winters rather than buy curtains for the front door and sort out the gappy floorboards.
We need better bills
The government’s aware of our apathy and has come up with its own solution – including information on your bill about how your consumption compares to other people in your area.
This is an interesting one – would it really give us that extra bit of motivation to make changes to our homes? I guess they’re hoping it will bring out our competitive streaks, but it could backfire and simply appeal to our nosy sides.
For me, this kind of information will only be useful if the comparison can be direct with similar-sized households and families. There’s no point in comparing my family’s usage with a single person in a one-bad flat. Plus, you’d need extra details to give it some context – have others got extra loft insulation, for example? Gathering this level of information will be expensive and time-consuming to say the least.
Then there’s the ongoing problem of adding even more information to our (already confusing) bills. I don’t know about you, but for me, a clearer bill with simple tariffs and some energy-saving tips is what I want to see first.