The surge in the number of people staying at home during the Covid-19 outbreak could see household energy bills increase by £52m a week, says energy comparison and switching service Uswitch.
Around 16.8 million people are estimated to be working from home following the outbreak.
Individuals who would normally be out of the house during the day at school, university or work will now be using energy during those hours by doing things such as boiling the kettle, using heating, having their lights on and using their computer.
Uswitch has estimated that households where people are now working from home, will use an additional 25% more electricity per day. This adds up to a potential increase of £16 per month.
The energy industry is currently working with the government to help households who are affected by the pandemic.
Measures announced so far include reassessing, reducing or pausing debt repayments and bill payments.
Suppliers will make some decisions on a case-by-case basis, this means that anyone who is struggling with their bills can contact their provider to explain their situation and ask for help.
Cordelia Samson, energy expert at Uswitch said: ‘This is a hugely unsettling time for everyone, with many people staying at home who don’t normally, and some having to juggle looking after children at the same time.
‘People will be thinking about vulnerable friends and relatives, so the last thing on their minds will be their energy bill.
‘It’s great to see what energy firms are doing to keep the most vulnerable people supplied with gas and electricity, and we would urge all suppliers to continue to work together to protect those in need.
‘Working from home and entertaining children during the day means having the heating on when it wouldn’t usually be. Across a whole year, this could increase bills for people on poor value Standard Variable Tariffs by almost £200 – around £16 a month.
‘There are plenty of ways you can reduce the amount of energy use around your home, however, and if you’re concerned about the amount you’re paying, you should compare energy deals to see if there is a cheaper plan you can move to.’
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