Experts blast 'T-shirt tweakers' heating homes 'hotter than BARBADOS'

If you’re cold this Winter… wear a JUMPER: Energy experts blast ‘T-shirt tweakers’ who heat their homes ‘hotter than BARBADOS’ and suggest Britons should simply put on an extra layer and turn the heating down to keep bills low

  • Households need to stop being ‘t-shirt tweakers’ and have heat at 21C, they said
  • The ‘Wear Warm’ campaign also looks to tackle pollution caused by overheating
  • It comes amid fears for the future of Britain’s seventh biggest energy firm – Bulb
  • The company is latest victim of the rocketing wholesale energy price this winter

Britons should wear jumpers and turn down the heating this Christmas to stave off the spiralling energy crisis and keep their bills low, experts have warned.

Households need to stop being ‘t-shirt tweakers’ – those who wear thin tops with the heat blasting – and keep temperatures at no more than 21C indoors, they claimed.

The ‘Wear Warm’ campaign, backed by ex-footballer David James, fashion designer Wayne Hemmingway and Utilita Energy CEO Bill Bullen, also looks to tackle pollution.

It comes amid fears for the future of Britain’s seventh biggest energy firm Bulb – which specialises in supplying green power and heat.

The company, which has 1.7million customers, is the latest victim of the soaring wholesale energy prices that have already forced the closure of 14 suppliers.

 The ‘Wear Warm’ campaign, backed by ex-footballer David James, fashion designer Wayne Hemmingway and Utilita Energy CEO Bill Bullen, also looks to tackle pollution

Research by the ‘Wear Warm’ campaign found nearly half – 48 per cent – of Britain’s homes are heated to 24C seen in Barbados this time of year.

It found this was 3C higher than necessary and added 13million tonnes of CO2 emissions each year – the equivalent of seven million cars.

The study suggested the overheating of homes was costing homeowners across the country £2.32billion a year extra – about £174 per house.

It added over half – 51 per cent – revealed they were using an additional source of heat, such as a fan heater, oil-filled radiator, gas cooker or electric blanket.

Founder and CEO of Utilita Energy Bill Bullen said: ‘Energy bosses and MPs have previously been berated for daring to suggest that consumers put a jumper on to stay warm, and on the subject of fuel poverty – it’s not the right message.

‘But there’s no excuse for today’s Government to avoid a simple ‘don’t go above 21 degrees message’, as we have.

‘We’re confident that our simple and effective message will have a positive impact on the pockets of bill payers this winter and will help out Mother Earth – let’s make the year 2021 the last year that we heated our homes to higher than 21 degrees.’

He added on the Today programme: ‘We’re aiming this message at more affluent households.’

Founder and CEO of Utilita Energy Bill Bullen (pictured) said: ‘Energy bosses and MPs have previously been berated for daring to suggest that consumers put a jumper on to stay warm, and on the subject of fuel poverty – it’s not the right message’

He continued: ‘By just wearing warmer clothes we could actually make a significant difference to climate change.

‘We have to pull out all the tops frankly to hit the targets we want to hit and this very small change could help the UK hit its net zero target two years earlier.’

Asked if it was more about saving money for energy firms, he said: ‘Not at all, the UK has cut its energy consumption, but we’re still going to be dependent on imported gas…

‘So this is about all customers understanding that everybody needs to do their bit even if you can afford to heat your home that bit more it’s not actually a good thing for energy prices and the environmental impact.’

Mr Bullen said his firm is expected to survive the winter but hedging their position months ago before prices rocketed.

He said: ‘Since the announcement last week Russia was turning up gas prices for Europe, gas prices have been falling despite being very high in a historical sense.

‘We also took a couple of other very sensible business steps a couple of months ago to ensure if anything we were slightly overhedged for this winter period and that so far is working out for us.’

He said it was ‘almost certain there will be another significant increase’ to the price cap in April.

Research by the ‘Wear Warm’ campaign found nearly half – 48 per cent – of Britain’s homes are heated to 24C seen in Barbados this time of year (file photo)

He added this could be about 12-13 per cent, which would mean about a 25 per cent rise over the two price rises, costing about £150 extra per household.

Archie Lasseter, global warming expert at Utilita Energy, claimed the UK would hit its net zero obligation two years ahead of deadline if it turned down the heat.

He said: ‘If every household made a pledge to stay within 18-21 degrees, the UK would hit its net zero obligation almost two years ahead of its deadline.

‘Based on 48 per cent of the UK’s homes being heated to 3 degrees higher than the recommended healthy heat (18-21 degrees), as a nation we are generating an additional 13 million tonnes of CO? emissions each year.’

He added: ‘That’s the same pollution generated by around seven million cars each year.’

Former footballer turned environmentalist Mr James said: ‘One of my personal bugbears is seeing people sitting at home in the winter, wearing a T-shirt, with the heating cranked up.

‘There’s absolutely no sense in it, and now we have the evidence to reveal the impact that this type of behaviour is having on the planet and the pocket.

‘For example, to offset the pollution generated by overheated homes here in the UK, we’d need to plant 51 million trees each year – that’s enough to cover 392,000 football pitches.’

And Fashion designer Mr Hemingway added: ‘It’s bloomin’ obvious really, it totally makes sense to put another layer on and it makes sense on many levels; for the environment, for your health (cooler environments help prevent the spread of a number illnesses) and your pocket. Why wouldn’t you?’ 

A third of households – 32 per cent – who use an additional heat source said they did not know if it was cheaper than using the central heating system or not.

Another third – 33 per cent – said they knew the additional heat source was more expensive than the central heating but still use it.

It comes amid fears for the future of Britain’s seventh biggest energy firm Bulb, which specialises in supplying green power and heat.

The company, which has some 1.7m household customers, is the latest victim of the soaring wholesale energy prices that have already forced the closure of 14 suppliers.

Former footballer turned environmentalist Mr James (pictured) said: ‘One of my personal bugbears is seeing people sitting at home in the winter, wearing a T-shirt, with the heating cranked up’

The firms complain they have been squeezed by the official cap on energy prices, which stops them from passing on a sudden surge in prices.

Meanwhile world leaders have gathered in the UK for COP26, where the promotion of green energy will be at the centre of discussions.

The Government backs the price cap and insists it is a vital consumer protection. But industry regulator Ofgem, said on Friday that it is prepared to look at how it works.

Currently, the figure changes just twice a year – April and October – but this be could be increased to every three months to better reflect price volatility.

Bulb promotes itself as a green energy supplier, however this does not mean it is immune for the price surge in fossil fuels.

All of the firm’s electricity comes from renewable sources such as windfarms, but it also buys natural gas on the wholesale market.

It offsets the carbon emissions of this gas by supporting eco-projects, such as planting trees.

Bulb revealed on Friday it was in talks with multiple parties to try and secure additional funding to guarantee its future.

If it is unsuccessful, it will be forced to close with all its customers being switched to a new supplier.

Bulb said a small fall in wholesale prices in recent days has offered some respite.

But the price of buying gas on a day ahead basis was 177p a therm on Friday morning versus 50p in April.

A spokesman said: ‘Our discussions with multiple parties to secure additional funding continue to make good progress and we’re encouraged by the drop in wholesale energy prices.’

The current Ofgem cap means the typical household is be paying £1,277 per year. Without the cap, some analysts say households would be paying over £1,600 and potentially as much as £2,000.

The regulator wrote to suppliers on Friday, saying it is prepared to look at how the cap works.

It said: ‘The unprecedented rise in energy prices this year has changed the perception of risk and uncertainty in this market.

‘In order to protect the interests of consumers, we must ensure that the regulatory frameworks, including the price cap, fully reflect the costs, risks and uncertainties facing the supply companies we regulate.’

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