Half of adults say energy bills are biggest financial worry

26th October 2023

Almost half (46%) of all adults have identified energy bills as their biggest financial concern heading into this winter according to research by Finder.com.

Single-person households were the most apprehensive, with more than half (53%) of those living alone saying that energy bills are one of their biggest financial concerns heading into winter. This was followed by those sharing a household with one other person (46%). Those in larger households of 6 people were found to be the least anxious, with only 34% of people in this group claiming that energy bills are one of their main winter worries.

The next most common concern was being able to afford the weekly grocery shop. Almost a quarter (23%) said that this is one of their biggest money worries going into winter, as the inflation of food prices throughout 2023 has made grocery shopping extremely difficult for some households.

More than one in five (22%) were most concerned about being able to afford their Christmas shopping, and 1 in 6 (16%) were worried about being able to afford their mortgage or rent payments this winter. 84% of UK adults said they will be taking action to help lower their monthly payments during the winter months.

The study found that 2 in 5(41%) will be turning their thermostat down or turning off some heaters around the home even when cold, to help reduce their energy bills this winter.

Those in the silent generation (aged 74+) were most likely to lower their thermostat despite being cold, with more than half (56%) of this generation claiming this is what they intend to do in winter to avoid high energy bills.

Age group was directly correlated with this precaution, with 49% of baby boomers (aged 55-73) planning to take this action, followed by 39% of gen X (aged 43-54), 35% of millennials (aged 24-42) and just a quarter (25%) of gen Z (aged 18-23). This trend is particularly alarming, as the demographics most likely to turn their heating down are also those whose health will be most at risk from the cold.

Almost a third of adults (32%) said that they would avoid turning the heating on at all when cold this winter, to help lower the cost of their energy bills. 30% also said they would be reducing the time they spend in the shower, or the number of baths they have this winter.

Taking a more long-term approach to lowering their energy bills, 1 in 5 (20%) said that they plan to install a smart meter to help them monitor their energy use, and 1 in 10 (10%) are planning to install additional insulation to their home to help reduce their energy usage.

Liz Edwards, editor-in-chief at personal finance comparison site finder.com, said “Last year the UK government reported that an estimated 3.26 million households (13.4%) were in fuel poverty in England, so it’s no surprise that energy bills are at the forefront of Brits’ concerns heading into winter this year.”

“The NHS recently advised that homes should be kept at a minimum temperature of 18C for people to stay safe this winter. However, our findings indicate that many will not be keeping to this, with almost a third of Brits not planning to turn their heating on when they’re cold this winter, to avoid high energy costs. This could have serious health implications for those who are more vulnerable to the cold.”