Consumer: Taking drastic action to rein-in power bills

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Thousands of people in Leeds are taking extreme measures to reduce their monthly bills.

More than 23 million households across the country – a massive 84 per cent – have taken steps such as layering up or making hot drinks instead of sticking the heating on.

The research by Santander found that three million people spend more time at work because it is warmer than at home, while 17 per cent admitted standing in front of the oven when it is on to warm up. Two thirds are ‘sofa-eskimos’ – layering up with hats, coats, gloves and extra jumpers when at home – while 33 per cent of those questioned would drink more hot drinks and 22 per cent get into bed because it is warmer than sitting on the sofa.

Matt Hall, director of banking, said: “As bills get more expensive in the winter months, our research shows households are being very resourceful and finding clever ways to reduce their overall expenditure.

“There are a multitude of methods to help manage and reduce bills. Households should check they have the best deal by comparing energy providers, look to take advantage of cashback and loyalty offers, and it’s often cheaper to pay by direct debit.”

The research looked at how people are expecting to cope with energy bills in the future.

Two-thirds of households expect to make significant lifestyle cut-backs within the next year, from taking on a second job or extra hours (22 per cent) and sacrificing holidays (17 per cent) to cancelling TV subscriptions (15 per cent) and even downsizing their home (six per cent). According to the bank’s research, the number of households resorting to these measures is on the rise, as just 42 per cent made these same sacrifices in the last 12 months.

Residents are also looking at other ways to reduce energy wastage and cut the price they pay for fuel. Eleven per cent plan to buy thermal curtains and blinds, 10 per cent will look at installing DIY home insulation and six per cent plan to use smart thermostats.

More than a quarter (28 per cent) will review their energy provider and switch if necessary, while one in eight will open a bank account that offers cashback on household bill spend. Twelve per cent will also use apps that help to track spending to keep an eye on their outgoings.

Jessica Ennis-Hill, Santander ambassador, said: “Bills can be more expensive in the winter so it’s great to see people being savvy and finding ways to keep them down.”

Santander’s 1|2|3 current account gives up to 3 per cent cashback on household bills paid by direct debit. Visit www.santander.co.uk or call in to in any Santander branch for more details.

HOW TO KEEP ENERGY USAGE DOWN

Other Common ways people keep energy usage down include:

* Sitting under a blanket – 42 per cent of households

* Turning off some radiators or only heating certain rooms – 29 per cent

* Using a hot water bottle – 25 per cent

* Getting dressed under the covers – six per cent

* Moving furniture closer to radiators – six per cent

* Visiting friends and family where it’s warmer – six per cent

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