Working from home could add £131 to your energy bill to cover extra heating and electricity, experts say
- Employees could see their bills rise 18 per cent to £868 to cover the added costs
- Liberal Democrat leader Sir Ed Davey said energy bills will be the ‘worst gift’
People working from home full-time face paying an average £131 more for energy this winter.
Employees could see their bills rise 18 per cent to £868 to cover the extra costs of heating and electricity to power lights and computers if current guidance continues until February, comparison site Energyhelpline said.
Boris Johnson introduced the restrictions in England on December 13 in an effort to stem the rapid spread of the Omicron variant before Christmas.
The devolved governments in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have also advised against returning to offices.
Employees could see their bills rise 18 per cent to £868 to cover the extra costs of heating and electricity
But the switch back to remote working comes as energy prices have soared and many families grapple with rising inflation.
Rory Stoves, energy expert at Energyhelpline, said: ‘The New Year is always hard as households look to tighten their belts following the Christmas splurge, but this year promises to be even more challenging.
‘With millions of customers expected to be working from home in January, energy bills could be even higher still as people turn on their heating and electricity to keep the cold and dark winter weather at bay.
‘Inflation is higher than it has been for nearly a decade, petrol prices are at record highs and energy costs are no different.’
While saving on other costs such as travel, those working remotely for four days between December and February could pay an extra £105, according to Energyhelpline forecasts. Those working from home for three days could be charged £79 more, £53 more for two days and £26 for one day.
The figures came as Liberal Democrat leader Sir Ed Davey said energy bills will be the ‘worst possible gift’ this year.
The party estimates British households will pay £100million more for energy in the seven days over Christmas and New Year compared with 2020. Fears are rising there could be runaway price hikes when the energy price cap is reviewed in April, with bills potentially rising by more than 50 per cent and pushing towards the £2,000-a-year mark.
Industry body Energy UK has described the situation as a ‘nationwide crisis’. The price cap for standard variable tariffs was last revised in August and stands at £1,277.
But wholesale gas prices have rocketed since then for a combination of reasons. They have risen from 60p per therm (the cost of burning 100 cubic feet of gas) at the start of the year to a high of £4.50 per therm last week, before falling when Britain received a bumper shipment of gas from overseas.
The switch back to remote working comes as energy prices have soared and many families grapple with rising inflation
A cold winter last year meant European gas supplies were a lot smaller than usual by the summer, low winds meant less renewable power was generated and Russia released less gas to Europe than usual.
Families could face energy bill increases every three months under plans to overhaul the price cap, which protects more than 15million households by limiting how much firms can charge customers on standard variable deals
The cap was introduced in January 2019 by Theresa May, who stepped in after claiming the major providers were ‘punishing loyalty with higher prices’. It is reviewed twice per year – but the regulator has said it may need to make this twice as frequent.
Under another proposal, Ofgem could be given the power to reset the price cap entirely in extreme circumstances. Ofgem claims the limit does not allow fragile companies to pass on the true cost of energy to their customers.
Around 30 energy suppliers including Utility Point, Igloo Energy and People’s Energy have gone bust in 2021, with many more under threat.
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