Energy costs are now the top financial worry for most Britons, ahead of rising food and mortgage repayments, a survey says.

The price of power has risen more than five times faster than household income since 2004, according to the poll from price comparison website

Key Points

  • Energy costs top financial worries list
  • 90% of people worried about gas and elec bills
  • 32% say household energy is unaffordable

It says 90% of people are worried about their electricity and gas bills, compared with 77% concerned about food prices and 42% who are anxious about mortgage payments.

Almost a third of consumers (32%) say household energy is unaffordable in the UK.

While the average UK household income has increased by 20% from 32,812 in 2004 to 39,468 today, the average energy bill has risen by 140%, according to uSwitch figures.

Households were spending an average of 522 a year for their energy in 2004, but now pay 1,252 a year — 3.2% of income or double the 1.6% of eight years ago.

That annual bill now accounts for 11% of a couple's basic state pension of 11,175 a year.

Disposable income down

Britons now have an average of 297 of disposable income left each month after all essential household bills are paid,'s figures say.

The study claims 83% of people believe rising energy bills have had an impact on their disposable income, with 17% of these reporting they no longer have any disposable income as a result, and 27% saying energy bills have reduced their disposable income dramatically.

Ann Robinson, director of consumer policy, says: "In less than 10 years our energy bills have rocketed by 140%. The breakneck speed at which energy prices have sprinted upwards has caught many people unawares.

"Energy now accounts for a significant slice of household income which is why the numbers rationing their energy use have risen so steeply in recent years. But going cold or without is a short-term and potentially harmful fix.

"The fact is that consumers can control how much they spend on energy by making homes more energy-efficient, and paying less for energy by moving to a competitively-priced energy plan.

"Those who are on a low income or benefits could even gain from free insulation from their energy supplier, so it's worth contacting them first to see what financial help you can get."

On Our Forums

Rising energy costs