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The leaves are turning, the mercury's starting to dip and there's a definite chill appearing – the first signs of winter are making themselves known, which means the worry of turning on the heating, and the spiralling energy costs that could follow, are also starting to bite.
Winter energy worries are likely to be even more acute for those already in debt with their energy provider, something that 10% of survey respondents admit to, and many are prepared to go to great lengths in order to strike a balance between keeping warm and keeping bills down.
The survey, from energy comparison site energyhelpline, found that 49% put on extra layers of clothing instead of putting on the heating, while 20% have stayed in bed with a hot water bottle to keep warm and around 12% have installed extra insulation.
However, more worrying is the fact that 7% have purposely spent time in a public heated place and one in 10 only heat one room of the house, while 5% have deliberately sent their children on playdates as they can't afford to keep the heating on at home.
"Some of these methods are clever ways to save; but for the most vulnerable in society, some of these admissions are deeply saddening," said Victoria Arrington at energyhelpline. "It's tragic to learn that the quality time that families should have together can be negatively impacted due to energy costs. The very young and the very old are most at risk in a cold home and as a society, we need to be doing more to help."
However, as Victoria points out, there is something that consumers can do "so they can afford to live in comfort and not the cold", and that's to look for the best possible energy deal. It's possible to save as much as £300 each year by switching tariff, with the most gains to be made by those who are currently on a standard tariff as opposed to a fixed rate deal, with the former typically being far more expensive.
It needn't take a lot of time and effort and can make the world of difference to not only your finances, but also your level of comfort. Spending a few minutes comparing energy deals is "surely better than being confined to one room, or having to send your child away on a playdate just to keep warm," said Victoria, so don't fear the cost of winter – use our energy comparison tool to get started, and see if you can bring your bills down to size.
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