With large parts of the country now facing stronger lockdown measures as a result of the coronavirus and with winter around the corner, MoneySuperMarket is encouraging consumers to take action to avoid paying a premium on their energy bills.

Domestic energy consumption rose under the first national lockdown by 15%, as people spent more time at home. As we move into the coldest period of the year, the UK’s leading price comparison website is highlighting that domestic energy consumption in households will rise further during this most expensive season.

This is a particular concern for Brits on standard variable and default tariffs, and living under stronger lockdown restrictions, who could see substantial increases in their bills.

Research undertaken by MoneySuperMarket has found that 37% of billpayers are concerned about being able to afford their energy this winter. Of this group, over half (54%) cited the adverse impact of the coronavirus on their finances as an issue, while 52% also cited that their energy bills had increased.

Londoners (17%) are the most likely to say that they are ‘really worried’ about affording their bills this winter, while people in the North East are the least likely (41%).

Those concerned about being able to afford their bills cited a range of cutbacks they were making in order to keep their lights and heating on, the most popular of which included:

  1. Having fewer meals out/takeaways – 32%
  2. Reducing energy consumption - 30%
  3. Reducing the amount they spend on food – 22%

The findings also reveal that over two thirds (69%) of Brits wear more layers around the house to avoid putting the heating on. Other measures included: using blankets (52%); taking a hot water bottle to bed (27%); moving around the house more to keep warm (18%); and purchasing draught excluders (17%).

Early autumn is the time Brits start to reach for the thermostat controls: the time period of 1 st October to 15 th October is the time most popular with the Brits, with a quarter (24%) choosing switch on their heating in this time.

Stephen Murray, energy expert at MoneySuperMarket, said: “We all saw how much domestic energy consumption rose under the first national lockdown earlier this year, with people spending more time working from home. And inevitably, this had an impact on energy bills, although the warm spring weather helped keep these down.

“With lockdown measures yet again returning to many parts of the UK, we’re concerned that this wave could lead to a second spike in energy bills – but this time it could be worse with energy usage much higher in the colder months.

“If you’re on a standard variable or default tariff, the message is simple: shop around for a new fixed rate tariff now. Despite Ofgem lowering the price cap customers on standard tariffs are still paying amongst the highest prices with over 66 tariffs currently cheaper than the price cap, some of which could save you up to £200 per annum 3 .”

MoneySuperMarket’s top tips for reducing your energy bills