Spotted in yesterday's Sunday Times:
Homeowners will use more gas and electricity this winter as more people work from home, using the heating for much longer periods.
Home working is set to increase energy bills by about £107, according to an estimate by the comparison firm Energyhelpline. This adds about 18 per cent to the average annual bill. In total, the firm estimates homeowners will fork out an additional £1.9 billion on energy bills this winter.
Many customers are already in debt to their supplier at a time when they should be in credit before the winter, due to increased energy use at home through the first lockdown. This is because customers who pay by direct debit tend to build up a credit on their account during the summer months, when they use less energy, in time for winter, when they use more. Over a 12-month cycle the idea is that their account balances out.
With temperatures falling, however, and accounts in debt already, it is likely that many customers will have to adjust their direct debits next year.
Scott Byrom, the chief executive of the comparison website theenergyshop.com, said: “The big worry is that consumers are sleepwalking into an energy debt crisis.
“Our usage is increasing under lockdown conditions, and we haven’t built up the normal credit reserves to cover our increased usage costs through autumn and winter.