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Coronavirus: Parents hit hardest by lockdown energy costs in UK

Kalila Sangster
·2-min read
Woman and child wearing colorful pair of woolly socks warming cold feet in front of heating radiator in winter time. Electric or gas heater at home. Part of body, selective focus.
As England goes into a second national lockdown set to last until at least 2 December, families are bracing themselves for rising energy bills. Photo: Getty

UK families are the hardest hit by coronavirus lockdown energy costs, according to new research from Credit Karma.

School closures during lockdown cost parents a total of £368m ($481m) a month in extra energy costs, with each family facing an average £68 spike in inflated energy bills since the UK went into lockdown.

This is more than double the rise in energy bills suffered by the average UK household, as the extra energy used by the average household due to lockdown equated to an additional monthly cost of £32.31, according to a Populus poll.

As England goes into a second national lockdown set to last until at least 2 December, families are bracing themselves for rising energy bills, with many unsure on how they’ll afford them.

READ MORE: Brits paying out £489m a year in extra mobile phone charges

An estimated one in three (33%) UK mums and dads have been unable to afford the cost of increased energy use since schools shut in March, leading them to borrow to afford the extra.

A further two in five (44%) have managed to keep up with rising bills so far, but are worried that a second wave would leave them severely overstretched.

Some 42% say they’re too busy to deal with the process of switching to a new energy provider even if it could save them money.

As children have returned to school, more than half (53%) of parents said that they will need to wash uniforms daily as part of new school guidelines to try to prevent the spread of COVID-19 — costing the average family about £15 a month in extra energy usage for washing machines and tumble dryers.

READ MORE: UK households could save £1.4bn by turning their heating down just 1°C

Children staying at home during lockdown and during the summer holidays caused parents’ energy bills to shoot up — running games consoles and streaming services are some of the biggest reasons for rising bills, with the average child clocking up more than 16 additional hours a week on these activities alone.

Financially struggling parents have pointed to teenage boys as the most wasteful when it comes to energy consumption — leaving lights on, using several electronic devices at the same time, and creating the most laundry.

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