One in five over 50s say they will struggle to pay heating bills this winter

3rd December 2015


One in five of the over 50s say they will struggle to pay their bills this winter while 9% say they will have to go to bed earlier and get up later in order to avoid putting their heating on according to a survey by Saga.

Compared to the same period last year, energy prices have remained relatively stable. However despite this more than half of over 50s are concerned about the cost of energy this winter and a worrying near one in five (19%) believe that they will genuinely struggle to pay their bills, with those in the North East, Scotland and Wales showing the most concern.

When asked what other measures some would have to take to ensure they can afford to keep warm in winter. Around three in five over 50s said they would have to wear extra clothing or only put the heating on at certain times of the day in order to economise (61% and 60% respectively). Thirty per cent said that they would not heat as many rooms and for a shocking one in eight parts of their homes will become no go areas once the chill sets in. Whilst one in ten would go to bed earlier and get up later, one in ten also said that they would only put their heating on as a last resort.

Lisa Harris head of communications for Saga says: “Keeping warm in winter is not a luxury it’s essential for many to keep fit and well over the winter months.  People shouldn’t be afraid of putting the heating on, but one in ten to admit that they would only put their heating on as a last resort. However there are often lots of relatively simple measures that people can take to help keep control of their energy bills.”

As well as getting onto the cheapest tariff possible, Saga publishing have some tips for helping people find ways in which they can save energy around the home and to cut bills .

1.    A massive 20% of your home’s heat escapes through cracks and gaps around doors and windows. Use draught excluders, well-lined curtains and make sure windows are properly sealed.

2.    Setting your central heating timer correctly is a simple and easy way to save on your energy bills. Fix the heating to come on for a couple of hours when you wake up to make those chilly morning showers much more bearable, and then for a couple of hours again in the evening. Don’t waste money by having the heating on during the day when no-one is reaping the benefits.

3.    Loft insulation is effective for at least 40 years and it can save you up to £250 on your energy bills each year. In a bungalow, it is even more essential that you install loft insulation as the larger surface area of the roof, compared to a house, will mean that heat can escape at a quicker rate. As a bungalow is a single-floor home, it would be a good idea to perhaps light a fire rather than putting your central heating on to heat your rooms, as the rooms will heat up quicker.

4.    Insulating your walls properly can save you up to £460 a year on your energy bills. Approximately a third of all heat lost in an uninsulated home is through the walls, therefore it is important to ensure you install the correct type of wall Insulation. Depending on the type of walls you have, Cavity Wall Insulation (CWI) or Internal/External Wall Insulation (EWI) will help reduce heat loss and keep your home warmer.
5.    The Energy Saving Trust estimates we can save a collective £1.7 billion a year by switching electrical items off. Turn off lights, TVs, phone chargers and games consoles. Around 55% of households have games consoles, a quarter of over 55s have them. Three quarters of those with a spare TV keep it on standby. Most importantly, don’t think standby does the job. Off means off

Populus interviewed 9,986 Saga respondents, all aged 50+, online between 20 and 26 October 2015.

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