Almost half of bill-payers struggling with energy costs before next hike – poll

A massive energy price hike is expected to hit more than 20 million households across the UK from October.

Man withdrawing money from ATM
Man withdrawing money from ATM

Nearly half of adults in the UK are struggling to pay their energy bills even ahead of a massive price spike that is expected to take thousands of pounds out of the pocket of families.

The Office for National Statistics found 45% of adults who pay energy bills found it very or somewhat difficult to do so in the first half of August.

This is even before massive bill rises hit more than 20 million households across the UK.

Energy regulator Ofgem is set to announce changes to the price cap on energy bills next Friday.

It is expected to set the cap close to £3,600 per year for the average household. This is well above the £1,971 per year that the average household is currently paying.

The next price cap will come into force on October 1. It is then due to be updated again on January 1, and April 1. Based on today’s gas prices, experts expect the cap to rise all three times.

The winter will prove tough for everyone with an energy bill to pay, and those on the lowest incomes are set to be the most impacted.

In its wide-ranging survey, the ONS also found the recent hot weather has had an impact on many people in the UK.

While 55% said they were not impacted by the heatwave, one in five (21%) said their leisure activities were affected, and 14% said their general health had been impacted.

Government advice on how to handle the heatwave reached through to 85% of people, the ONS figures suggest.

Nine in 10 people said they drank more fluids during the hot days, and eight in 10 said they closed curtains or blinds to keep their homes cooler.

Meanwhile, 65% said they stayed out of the sun between 11am and 3pm, 53% closed windows when the day was hottest, and 51% avoided exercise at the same time.

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