Over 65s hit hard in latest cold snap

As the first cold snap of 2017 hits, we once again find that our older customers are hit hardest by rising energy bills. 

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Left out in the cold

Our latest research found that nearly one in ten elderly people in the UK expects to suffer from health problems this winter due to the high cost of energy; the equivalent of 1 million people nationwide**.
We surveyed 2,000 people over the age of 65 and found that 90% of respondents believe that the cost of energy presents a real health threat to their age group. As winter temperatures plummet and the amount of energy needed increases, almost a third (32%) of over 65s could be forced to ration energy usage to try to keep their bills down – on par with this time last year.

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Under pressure

High energy bills over the winter months are likely to increase the pressure on household budgets. Only 36% of OAPs surveyed said they could “definitely afford” an increase in energy bills. This means that a large number of over 65s will be forced to take extraordinary measures to afford the bill. 43% said they would have to dip into their savings, while 38% said that they would cut down on other expenditures, such as food shopping and luxuries.

Peter Earl, our Head of Energy, said, “It is worrying that a million** elderly people in the UK may have to sacrifice their health just to pay for their energy bills. Cold weather and the resulting health problems are a real issue for elderly people who fall victim to the cold temperatures every year. Given the vulnerability of this section of society, it should be an absolute priority to ensure that the elderly are able to afford their energy costs and appropriately heat their home.”

Real concern

Further findings demonstrate how the colder weather is a significant factor in the lives of over 65s. 40% of respondents stated that they are worried the colder weather this winter will lead to higher than normal energy bills, over half (52%) of the older generation don’t trust energy companies to do the right thing and 60% don’t trust energy companies to pass on any reduction in energy costs to lower their monthly bills.

The problems facing the older generation places a new emphasis on the importance of the Government’s Winter Fuel Payment, which gives those born before 5 May 1953 between £100 and £300 tax free towards energy bills. Two thirds (66%) of respondents said that the benefit helps pay for their energy bills, while more than 1 in 10 (13%) said that they could not pay the bills without the benefit.

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Peter Earl continued, “Our latest energy insight (known as the Energy Snapshot) found that over 65 year olds saved an average of £212 on their energy bills in December by switching provider. This saving, combined with the Winter Fuel Payment, is another step towards giving elderly people in the UK enough support to heat their home, rather than risking their own health to save money.”

So make sure you have look at our energy comparison service as it could help to give you peace of mind this winter. Start saving now.

**1 million figure sourced from 2014 Office for National Statistics (ONS) data on number of adults in the UK over the age of 65. ONS estimates the number of UK adults over 65 to be at 11,406,760 million, 9% of which is 1,026,605. The findings are based on a survey of 2024 people, aged 65 and over, conducted by Populus and commissioned by comparethemarket.com between 8th – 15th December 2016.

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