Increased energy use as people stayed at home during lockdown could lead to some facing “substantial” bills, a website has warned.
A rise in usage may mean households without a smart meter and those who do not receive a manual meter reading from their supplier racking up an unforeseen debt balance of £145 typically to date, estimates from comparethemarket.com suggest.
The calculations are based on analysis of domestic usage figures and a UK-wide survey of more than 2,000 people who were asked about their recent energy use.
If left unchecked until the end of the year, the research suggests that households may unknowingly owe their energy supplier close to £300 more than they had expected – assuming that they continue to use more energy due to social distancing and more home-working.
Domestic energy usage is typically lower in the summer months but increases as temperatures cool down.
A colder than usual autumn or winter could lead to households owing even more on their energy bills if they are working from home, the website warned.
Peter Earl, head of energy at comparethemarket.com, said: “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 However, if their meter reading is out of date they could be in for a substantial shock when this is finally updated to reflect their actual usage.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.”