Millions of people across the UK have been left worried about affording household bills following the huge hike in energy costs this month.
The energy price cap increased by £693 per year to £1,971 for thousands of households default tariffs on 1 April – a 54% increase.
Prepayment customers saw a bigger jump with their price cap going up by £708, from £1,309 to £2,017.
Citizens advice warned that the rising costs will mean around five million people would be unable to afford their energy bills from April, even taking into account the support the government has already announced.
It added that this number would almost triple to one in four people in the UK (more than 14 million) if the price cap rises in October again, based on current predictions.
To help people manage the surging costs, Martin has issued a list of simple, cheap ways to stay warm at home without having to put the heating on.
What does Martin Lewis advise?
Martin deviated from his usual cost cutting advice to instead share more desperate tips to help people who cannot afford to put the heating on.
The Good Morning Britain experts came up with four clever ways to help which, once purchased, will only cost 4p per week.
He suggested that people could invest in the following items to help stay warm, meaning they won’t have to run up costs heating the entire house:
– USB gloves
– Heated insoles
– USB hand warmers
– Electric gilet
Martin said that the gloves, heated insoles and hand warmers all have an initial cost of less than £10 and cost less than 1p to run per hour – and just 4p in total per week.
He calculated that an electric gilet has an initial cost of £46, including a battery pack, and can be heated by charging it via a USB.
While the purchase cost of the electric gilet is more expensive than the three other items, which he priced at £5, £8 and £9 respectively, he said it would cost less than 1p to run per hour, and 4p overall per week.
The costs were calculated by looking at the wattage of the item and multiplying this by the average price of a single unit of electricity (a kilowatt hour) under the current energy price cap, and dividing this by 1,000 to give a running cost per hour.
Other tips in the guide include wearing layered clothing and thermal tops, using an electric blanket, and eating food more regularly to help keep warm.
Martin said: “This is a guide I really wish we needn’t be publishing. The reason I asked Sarah and the team to put this together is due to my overflowing e-mail bag of desperation from people who can’t afford their energy bills.
“So don’t see this as an ‘MSE or Martin says you should do this’. It’s more that we’re trying to help provide some options and information for those that may need to drastically cut down on energy usage due to financial desperation and some help for others who may want to do it out of a commitment to green issues.”
Several people commented on the handy guide thanking Martin for the tips.
Louise wrote: “I have a heated gilet which I bought for lockdown when sitting outside. You use it with a charging pack which charges like a mobile phone.
“I now wear it in the house during the day and just turn it on as I feel chilly. Keeps my core really warm. Much cheaper to charge the pack than run the heating I feel!”
NoraNoir commented: “I swear by heated throws! I use mine all the time for whenever I’m sat down for any period of time. I rarely use my central heating, and find I can do without when I’m under one of these.”
Tereas added: “Invested in an oversized hoodie blanket to snuggle up in, not used heating since!”