Stay-at-home families facing "substantial" energy bill shock

Increased energy consumption due to people staying at home during the lockdown could result in some facing “significant” bills, a website warns.

An increase in use could mean that households without a smart meter and those who do not receive a manual meter reading from their supplier will have an unforeseen suggest.

The calculations are based on analysis of household use figures and a UK survey of more than 2,000 people who were asked about their recent energy consumption.

If left unchecked until the end of the year, the study suggests households unknowingly owe their energy supplier nearly £ 300 more than they expected – assuming they continue to use more energy due to social distance and more home working.

Household energy consumption is generally lower in the summer months, but increases as the temperature cools.

A colder fall or winter can cause households to pay even more on their utility bills when they work from home, the website warns.

Peter Earl, head of energy, said: “A combination of lockdown and millions more people working from home has led to an increase in energy consumption.

“Many people pay their utility bills via direct debit, set up when they first opened their account. However, if their meter reading is outdated, they could get a big shock when it finally gets updated to reflect their actual usage.

“That is why we strongly recommend energy customers to read their gas and electricity meters now.”