Last year, every single one of the so-called ‘Big Six’ energy suppliers raised their energy prices to unprecedented levels. As a result, many households up and down the UK struggled with the ugly spectre of fuel poverty. Traditionally, the elderly have always been painted as the most likely victim of energy price hikes. However, a survey conducted by energy savings website findenergysavings.co.uk, has found that it is actually those aged 18-29 who struggle the most with rising energy bills, with many having to choose between food and heating.
Nearly one in five 21-29-year-olds surveyed admitted to having to borrow money to pay for energy bills. Of that group, ten percent admitted to turning to pay day loans to cover the additional expense, a worrying statistic considering pay day loans can have interest rates of up to 4,000 percent. Interestingly, 20 percent of 30-39-year-olds surveyed admitted to using credit cards to cover unexpectedly high energy bills.
Over 10 percent of all respondents indicated that they have had to choose between purchasing food or paying for heating or electricity bills. This percentage was much higher for those younger age groups – rising to over 18 percent of 21-29s and more than one in four 30-39s.
Finally, the survey asked if bill payers would be prepared to pay a premium to use energy from renewable sources. Unsurprisingly, 47.8 percent of those surveyed indicated that they would be unwilling to pay a premium for renewable energy. On the other hand, just over 20 percent of those indicated that they would be happy to pay a premium for renewable energy.
The high percentage of those unwilling to pay a premium for renewable energy reinforces the assertion that during tough economic times green ambitions are being put to the side. However, it also re-opens the debate surrounding the makeup of energy bills in the UK. Only 4 percent of Britons know that the average UK household personally pays £266 a year for nuclear decommissioning compared to the £2 required for supporting the UK solar industry.
Increasing wholesale gas prices and growing profits for the Big Six energy companies point to another raft of energy bill price hikes soon. Come winter, the cost of energy is bound to become another political hotspot, especially considering the launch of the Coalition’s flagship green policy, the Green Deal, which harbours ambitions of revolutionising the efficiency of Britain’s leaking housing stock.
Below is an infographic released by Find Energy Savings that summarises the results of the survey.
Source: Find Energy Savings