With winter fast approaching, researchers from Quotezone.co.uk found that a vast majority of the British public are still feeling the pinch, with 70% saying they felt energy bills were too high.
This is despite newly released figures showing gas prices fell by a record rate, 25.2%, in the month to July 2023 after a lowering of the energy price cap.
However, the study of over 2000 UK energy bill payers showed that one in five, 20%, don’t know what the energy price cap refers to.
Worryingly, more than a quarter of energy consumers, 26%, admitted to not being able to understand these complex bills – leading to calls for providers to simplify the way they charge customers.
Almost four in ten of those surveyed, 39%, didn’t know what kWh energy unit cost they were currently paying.
One in seven people, 14%, admitted to not even reading their bills, although it was not clear if this was because they found them too confusing or for some other reason.
The study also revealed that while most people understood the need to switch suppliers to save on energy bills, almost a third, 31%, felt overwhelmed at the prospect of doing so.
Driven by wholesale gas price surges and the inefficiency of much of the UK’s housing stock, the energy crisis has seen the number of UK households in fuel poverty rise to 6.6 million as of July 2023.
As prices have risen, the proportion of Direct Debit energy payments failing because of insufficient funds has risen by five times between February 2019 and July 2023.
Of the people who had reached out to their energy suppliers for help in paying their bills, a third, 33%, said they didn’t get the help they needed.
Greg Wilson, Founder and CEO at Quotezone.co.uk, said the survey showed just how many people are struggling to afford the energy they need to live.
He said: “It’s sad to see that one in ten have been forced to reach out for help to pay for the gas and electricity that heats and lights their homes.
“Our survey showed that despite falling energy prices, many consumers don’t feel like they are getting value or feel able to find better deals that will save them money.
“It’s eye-opening to discover that one in four people don’t understand their energy bills so it’s no wonder that so many report feeling overwhelmed at the prospect of switching suppliers.
“More alarming still, one in seven people don’t read their energy bills at all, perhaps because they simply find them too confusing.
“Our study highlights a pressing need for suppliers to make bills easier to understand which in turn will help consumers find better deals and reduce the number of people who feel they have no other option but to ask for help.
“It’s good to remember that customers can speak to their suppliers to discuss their tariff and to see if there is additional help available to manage their bills.
“When customers do reach out for support in paying their energy bills it is vital that suppliers help them find workable solutions.
“Our research showed that a third of customers didn’t feel they got the support they needed and if this is representative of the whole country, that number would equate to hundreds of thousands in need of help.”