Energy bills could soar by up to 18 per cent, equivalent to £107, for home workers this winter, new research has revealed.
Employees no longer working from the office could see their personal energy bills rocket to a total of £1.9billion nationwide, due to the increased use of heating and lighting, according to data from Energy Helpline.
Winter is a time of year when gas and electricity usage is 36 per cent higher than in summer, according to data from the Department of Energy and Climate Change, with this likely to increase substantially now even more people are at home full time.
The research also shows that each day regularly working from home would cost an extra £21 per household each day between October and March 2021.
Energy bills could soar by up to 18 per cent, equivalent to £107, for home workers this autumn
The energy price calculations were based on an average usage dual fuel household paying by monthly direct debit on a single rate meter. The average usage is defined by Ofgem is 12,000 kWh pa of gas and 2,900 kWh pa of electricity.
Energy Helpline said the 30 per cent rise in energy consumption equates to a rise of 24.9 per cent on the price of an average standard variable tariff.
It found that working from home for five days a week would add £107.18 to the average winter bill.
This means the bill will total £536.29 for the days at home when compared to £171.64 spent for evening and weekend usage.
Altogether, the winter bill comes to a total of £707.93 – 17.8 per cent more than the average winter dual fuel bill last year.
For those working at home four days a week, the usage would add £85.75 to the average winter energy bill.
There would also be an increase of £64 for those working from home for three days and a rise of £43 for those working at home on two days over the course of this autumn and winter.
Many customers are already in debt with their energy supplier, following higher energy use at home since the lockdown began in March, further research from Energy Helpline showed.
|DAYS SPENT WORKING FROM HOME||The average winter energy bill would increase by a total of||The energy cost of days spent working from home||The energy cost of the days spent working at the office/weekend days||Winter energy bill total||Cost vs the average winter dual fuel bill (based on new winter SVT price cap)|
|5 DAYS A WEEK||£107.18||£536.29||£171.64||£707.93||17.8%|
|4 DAYS A WEEK||£85.75||£429.03||£257.46||£686.50||14.27%|
|3 DAYS A WEEK||£64.31||£321.77||£343.29||£665.06||10.07%|
|2 DAYS A WEEK||£42.87||£214.52||£429.11||£643.62||7.14%|
|1 DAY A WEEK||£21.44||£107.26||£514.93||£622.19||3.57%|
|Source: Energy Helpline|
It has predicted that consumers could already be in debt to the tune of £94 per household, or over £2billion nationwide, at a time when they should normally be in credit ahead of winter.
Help for energy bills?
Energy Helpline is calling on energy suppliers and Ofgem to do all they can to support customers struggling to pay spiraling energy bills.
Customers should also supply their provider with an up-to-date meter reading to ensure their bills are accurate, check they are on the cheapest tariff and contact their supplier if they are worried about not being able to pay for their energy.
Tom Lyon, director of energy at Energy Helpline,said: ‘With many offices expected to be partially or completely closed over autumn and winter, millions face a worrying hike in bills from working at home at the time of year when we use most energy.
‘In addition, consumers paying by direct debit should normally now be in credit ahead of winter, but are finding themselves already in debt from spending more time at home since March.
‘It’s vital that energy suppliers and Ofgem do all they can to support consumers who are struggling to pay. Customers who are worried should ensure they switch to the cheapest tariff and contact their supplier about ways they can help.’
Households already owe £145 more than they think
Separate research from Compare the Market revealed that a rise in energy usage may mean households have alreadyracked up an unforeseen debt balance of £145 to date – exacerbating the shock that may be about to come.
Households without a smart meter and those who do not receive a manual meter reading from their supplier may unknowingly owe their energy supplier more than they expected, if they continue to use more energy due to new home working conditions.
It added that, if left unchecked, this figure could jump to £294 by the end of the year.
The research from is based on an analysis of domestic usage published by the Government.
Increased usage was calculated from a survey carried out by Populus with a total of 2,094 UK adults and then applied to a customer paying monthly by direct debit at the current energy price cap level of £1,127.
Previous research from Compare the Market found that 72 per cent of households in the UK had seen energy usage surge in the first half of the year in many household appliances, including dishwashers and washing machines, ovens and hobs, lighting, gaming, TVs and laptops.
As a result, the average household could face a 37 per cent rise in their energy bills.
Peter Earl, head of energy at Compare the Market, said: ‘There is mounting concern that millions of households could be facing a substantial debt balance on their energy bills at the same time as the temperature drops.
‘A combination of lockdown and millions more people working from home has meant energy usage has shot up. Many people pay their energy bills by direct debit, set up when they first opened their account.
‘However, if their meter reading is out of date they could be in for a substantial shock when this is finally updated to reflect their actual usage. As such, we highly recommend that energy customers take a reading of their gas and electric meters now.’
Households are encouraged to use price comparison sites to see if they could save money by switching supplier or by moving from a default tariff to a fixed one, which is typically much cheaper.
If you have any concerns about how you will afford your bill, always contact your supplier first and put a payment plan in place.
Citizens Advice is also available to help should customers need guidance with paying back their bills.
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