Energy auto-switching service Labrador says 2.55 million UK households are in “fuel poverty”.

A survey commissioned by the service, which examined the behaviours of customers running their homes in winter, focused on energy consumption and bill management.

Surveying 2,004 people, the results were then multiplied to reflect how many households would be affected nationwide.

In total 42 per cent of people stated that since moving into their property they have not provided their supplier with accurate details and a meter reading.

Just under a quarter (22 per cent) said they would not know if they were overpaying for their energy usage while 17 per cent have had to turn off the heating during the colder months because they know that they will not be able to afford the bill.

The research also found:

  • 6 per cent of the nation’s rental and homeowner community have been charged an exit fee when switching utility providers
  • 5 per cent of tenants have overpaid on their utility bills due to taking on previous tenants’ outstanding bills
  • 5 per cent of those in rented accommodation have only paid for their energy bills via estimates
  • 3 per cent of citizens have paid the previous tenants’ energy bill as they did not know that they could dispute it
  • 3 per cent state that their current utility bills are still being sent to them in a previous tenant’s name
  • 3 per cent of the UK population has noted that their landlord and/or estate agent was not transparent with them about the average cost of the utility bills when taking on their rented accommodation

Jane Lucy, founder of Labrador, said: “We have found that tenants often feel disenfranchised in regards to their energy bills and largely, for convenience, stay with the energy provider that was already used when moving into their rental property.

“This means that, for an array of reasons, an undeniably large proportion of the rental population is consistently overpaying for their energy.

“Moving properties is one of the most stressful life events and as tenants do this regularly, often every six to 12 months, it is understandable why, given the nomadic nature of renting, tenants opt to say with the same energy provider.

“Renters need to be aware, both of the power that they possess over their household bills and the services available that can provide hassle-free solutions especially within such a fast-paced market.

“Thankfully we do have technology and services like the Labrador, which can ensure that the complexities of switching energy providers is made easy – and most of all, accessible to everyone.”

Labrador has also said its partnership with FCC Paragon, which will see it provide auto-switching services to hundreds of thousands of homes through Paragon’s real estate network, will enable households to “save up to £537 on their energy”.

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