Households are forced to cut back on their energy due to higher gas and electricity costs
Over half of households (61%) say they were cold at home during last winter
- Hardship remains as almost three quarters (69%) have cut down or rationed their energy use during winter due to cost – only down 9% less than the previous year’s figures
- Over one in four people (26%) always or regularly went without heating last winter to keep energy costs down
Despite a relatively mild winter in Ireland, new research conducted by uSwitch.ie, the independent price comparison and switching service, shows that over half (61%) of households have gone cold in their own homes this winter in an attempt to keep a lid on their energy bills.
Almost three quarters of 45-54 year olds (69%) and nearly half of over 55s (49%) said they were cold in their homes during winter. Almost three quarters of households (69%) rationed their energy use while over one in four (26%) always or regularly gone without using their heating in order to cut costs. Another two in five homes (43%) occasionally went without heating. Worryingly, these figures are almost identical to similar research carried out by uSwitch.ie for winter 2012/2013.
This highlights the continued effect of high energy bills on households in Ireland. High energy bills have also had a significant impact on the disposable income of Irish consumers. As a result, people are being forced to not just forego luxuries but also to cut down on household essentials, such as heating. One third of survey respondents indicated that the energy cutbacks they are being forced to take are affecting their quality of life and health. The findings by uSwitch.ie highlight the need for consumers to shop around to ensure they are getting the best value for money when it comes to their energy bills.
Eoin Clarke, Head of uSwitch.ie, says: “It’s clear from this research that people are still struggling to cope with the high cost of energy bills in Ireland. With the price of energy rocketing by over €500 in the last three years, there are many people who have resorted to going cold in their own homes in a bid to reduce bills.
“We would advise people to examine their energy bill carefully and to use uSwitch.ie’s easy to use comparison website to see if you are getting the best deal possible available for your needs. By comparing your bill with other energy suppliers, people can make their money go further by ensuring they are paying the lowest prices for the energy they use. You could save as much as €321 a year just by switching energy suppliers alone. It is also important to take steps to ensure that their homes are as energy efficient as possible”.