Energy prices creating ‘heat or eat’ decision

Energy prices creating ‘heat or eat’ decision

Category: Gas and electricity
Date: 23/12/2011

The rising cost of gas and electricity is forcing many families to cut back their spending on Christmas festivities, a new poll has revealed.

Households are set to trim the amount of money spent on presents, food and alcohol in order to make sure they can afford to heat the home, according to

One in five Britons (22%) said they will either eat less or buy more microwaved or cheaper food this Christmas so they can pay their heating bills, while nearly a third (30%) will buy fewer presents to keep their homes warm.

Outlay on alcohol is set to be tempered by a third of people (31%) in order to pay the gas bill, while a fifth (21%) will be going to bed earlier to keep warm.

Making the most of any jumpers they receive from Santa, more than half the nation (55%) will be wearing more clothes around the house to help reduce gas and electricity costs.

However, some seemingly have no other alternative than to cut back on heating altogether, with 56% of Britons claiming they will have to turn the temperature dial down.

"Millions of people are being forced to scrimp and save to get through the Christmas period and for far too many it's becoming a choice between heating or eating," said

Paul Green, chief executive of

"It is a tragedy that families are being forced to rein in their celebrations this year because they are worried about rising energy bills.

"However, things are becoming so tight that a harsh winter could break the budgets of hundreds of thousands of people."

Pointing out that the wholesale price of gas and electricity is falling, Mr Green has called on the Big Six energy providers to drop their prices as soon as possible to ease the financial burden on households.

"We would also urge consumers to take some time out during the holiday period to see where they can make savings in their energy bills," he added.

"A few minutes on a price comparison site could save around £300 a year which could be one of the best presents you could get."

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