18 January 2018 – Falling temperatures are placing significant financial and health related stress onto OAPs. While more than two fifths (43%) of over 65-year olds are worried that cold weather this winter will lead to higher energy costs, over one in ten (11%) don’t feel they are in a position to afford an increase in their energy bills – equating to 1.3 million people nationwide.
Over a third (38%) of elderly people are set to ration their energy use this winter due to the rising cost, according to a survey of 2,000 respondents aged over 65 by comparethemarket.com. Their decision to limit their energy use comes despite the fact that a staggering 88% believe that the cost of energy presents a real health threat to older people living in the UK.
If their energy costs increase this winter, nearly half (48%) of over 65s said they would have to dip into their savings or use credit, while over a third (37%) believe they would need to cut down on expenditure in order to make ends meet. More concerningly, over one in ten (12%) say their health suffers because they limit the amount of heating they use and a fifth (20%) eat less or buy cheaper food to offset the cost of energy bills.
Recent comparethemarket.com research found that the average energy bill has risen by over £240 to £1,625 in 2017, an increase of 14% on last year, but those on standard variable rate tariffs may be paying even more. comparethemarket.com found that nearly a fifth (17%) of over 65s are on these default tariffs, equating to 2 million OAPs across the country.
Despite various government and regulator initiatives to tackle the rising cost of energy, over half of respondents (56%) believe that the proposed price cap would not do anything to reduce their energy bills and over a third (36%) did not even realise the government planned to introduce the cap.