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Energy and the Elderly

Energy and the Elderly

Fuel poverty amongst the elderly is sadly on the rise, with many choosing to switch off their heating to save money, not knowing what the alternative options are, like switching provider.

The Simples Lab is dedicated to arming the nation with the facts to take control of their energy bills and save themselves money, especially those who are the most vulnerable.

Cold weather causes worry

Recent research from the Simples Lab has revealed that a worrying number of elderly Brits will be subjected to fuel poverty at some point. As many as 48% are concerned that the cold weather will increase their energy costs, leaving them with sky high bills to pay. Cold snaps are adding to the issue, and the recent energy price hikes are taking their toll, too.

Confusion is fuelling the issue

The Simples Lab has found that Brits are in the dark about tariff terminology. Many people aren’t sure of the difference between standard variable tariffs (SVTs) and fixed tariffs, often paying more as a result. Almost a third are on more costly standard variable tariff (SVT) rates, or have no idea what type they’re on altogether. We estimate that nearly 2.1 million elderly people in the UK are paying over the odds without even realising it.

There are tough times ahead

Even with the government’s energy price cap, which was designed to lift financial burdens by lowering the bills of households on standard variable tariffs, it’s unlikely to make a positive difference to the vulnerable. Over half of elderly Brits claim to have seen no change in their bills and only a small number say they’ve seen a decrease.

Concerned customers admit that if their energy bills keep rising, it’ll bring them both emotional and financial strain. A staggering 43% of us say we’ll be forced to dip into savings or pay on a credit card, while over a quarter believe they’ll need to cut down on basic expenditures such as food to pay their bills. Nearly one in ten Brits say that limiting the amount of energy they use causes their health to suffer, putting them at risk mentally and physically.

Helping alleviate stress and strain

However, smart meters and smart thermostats may help reduce costs and alleviate the stress caused by money worries around energy. Smart thermostats help to keep a home at a stable set temperature, keeping costs down as it’s easier to only use energy when it’s needed, while smart meters help monitor how much energy is used each day. Smart meters also avoid estimated - and potentially inflated - bills and result in one less chore as there’s no more checking the meter - information simply gets sent to the energy provider.

Peter Earl

Head of Energy at Compare the Market

“Nobody should be forced to sacrifice their health in order to heat their home, and especially not the most vulnerable members of our society. Cold weather and the resulting financial and health problems are a real issue for the elderly, who have to worry about cold temperatures every year. It should be an absolute priority to ensure that they are able to afford their energy costs and appropriately heat their home.”

If a friend or relative of yours needs support, encourage them to shop around for a cheaper tariff and show them how it is done if they aren’t able to themselves.

Go back to the Simples Lab

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