• A third (32%) of elderly people will ration their energy usage this winter
  • 90% of OAPs believe that the cost of energy presents a real health threat, with almost one in ten (9%) expecting that their own health will suffer
  • Only 36% said they could “definitely” afford an increase in energy bills

16 January 2016 – Nearly one in ten (9%) elderly people in the UK expect to suffer from health problems this winter due to the high cost of energy, equating to 1 million* people nationwide, according to new findings from comparethemarket.com.

In a survey of 2,000 people over the age of 65, commissioned by comparethemarket.com, 90% of respondents believe that the cost of energy presents a real health threat to elderly people living in the UK. As winter temperatures plummet and the amount of energy required to heat a home increases, almost a third (32%) of elderly people will be forced to ration energy usage this winter to keep their bills down.

The high cost of energy in the winter months will likely put significant pressure on household budgets. Only 36% of OAPs surveyed said they could “definitely afford” an increase in energy bills. With colder weather upon us, an increase in usage is very likely, which will lead to higher energy costs.

To help manage the higher costs associated with winter energy, a large proportion of elderly people will be forced to take extraordinary measures. To pay their energy bill, 43% of elderly people 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, just to pay off an increased energy bill.

The colder weather is a real concern for elderly people, with 40% of respondents stating that they are worried the colder weather this winter will lead to higher than usual home energy costs. This will be, in part, down to the lack of faith in the energy companies. More than half of people (52%) over aged 65 and over, do not trust energy companies to do the right thing, while 60% do not trust energy companies to pass on any reduction in energy costs to make their monthly bills go down.

Peter Earl, Head of Energy at comparethemarket.com, said:

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

The problems facing the older generation further highlights the importance of the Government’s Winter Fuel Payment. 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.

Peter Earl continued: “While the Winter Fuel Allowance clearly goes some way to solve the problem, the fact that the number of people struggling to afford their energy bills is so high shows that more action has to be taken to ensure that OAPs are on the best energy deal possible. Our latest energy insight 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 Energy Fuel Allowance, is one step towards giving elderly people in the UK enough support to heat their home, rather than risking their own health to save money.”

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