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More than half of adults are using less fuel in their homes because of the rising cost of living

Gas and electricity prices continue to rise rapidly compared with last year, and more than half (54%) of adults in Great Britain are reporting using less fuel in their homes because of the rising cost of living.

Electricity prices in the UK rose by 66.7% and gas prices by 129.4% in the 12 months to February 2023, and were some of the main drivers of the annual inflation rate.

More than three-quarters (78%) of adults said a rise in their gas or electricity bills had caused their cost of living to rise over the past month, when asked between 8 and 19 March 2023.

As energy prices continue to rise, around half (49%) of adults who pay energy bills said they found it very or somewhat difficult to afford them.

The impact of rising energy prices is causing people to change their behaviour over winter.

More than half of adults (54%) in Great Britain said they are using less fuel, such as gas or electricity, in their homes because of the rising cost of living. This is down from 56% in the previous period (22 February to 5 March 2023). However, the figure is still higher than during a similar period last year (43% in the period 3 to 13 March 2022).

A fifth of adults in Great Britain (20%) reported being occasionally, hardly ever or never able to keep comfortably warm in their home in the past two weeks, when surveyed between 15 and 26 February 2023. This was lower than in November and December 2022 (24%), possibly because of milder weather during the most recent survey period.   

The groups most likely to struggle to keep warm at home in February 2023 were:  

  • those experiencing moderate-to-severe depressive symptoms (47%)  

  • those living in the most deprived areas of England (37%)  

  • those not in work and not looking for work ("economically inactive") and not retired (37%)

Adults who pay for their gas or electricity through prepayment meters were almost twice as likely to report using credit more than usual because of increases in the cost of living than those who do not pay through a prepayment method. This includes credit cards, overdrafts and loans. This is explored further in our Impact of increased cost of living on adults across Great Britain: September 2022 to January 2023 bulletin.

Adults who reported being behind on bills in the period 14 September 2022 to 8 January 2023 were more likely to also report lower happiness, life satisfaction, and feelings that things done in life were worthwhile. They also reported higher anxiety than those who were not behind on bills.

How this affects you

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Impact of cost of living on adults
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Explore how energy efficient housing is in your local area. 

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