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Unpaid carers preparing for future energy price rises

  • New research finds over 4 in 10 unpaid carers are taking steps now to help someone they care for to prepare for energy increases later in the year
  • 54% say the amount it costs them to look after someone has gone up in the last 6 months and 85% say they now spend more on energy for someone else
  • 87% agree that the increase in energy prices in October will make it harder when caring for people
  • Nearly a third are helping others to get a smart meter installed

Over 4 in 10 (43%) unpaid carers are taking steps now to help someone they care for later in
the year and over two thirds (37%) would like to, ahead of further energy price rises
announced for October.

But there is still confusion around what steps to take, with 52 per cent of unpaid carers
saying they would like to help someone prepare for winter but don’t know how.

An unpaid carer is a person of any age who provides unpaid help and support to someone
who cannot manage without their help.

There are 13 million unpaid carers in the UK, the majority of whom are people looking after
parents. Half of working age carers live in a household where no-one is in paid work and 1.2
million carers are in poverty.

With the cost of living crisis continuing to impact families, over half (54%) of unpaid carers
say the amount it costs them to look after someone has gone up in the last 6 months and 85
per cent are now spending more on energy as part of their caregiving.

But research from Smart Energy GB has found that nearly 7 in 10 (69%) unpaid carers
agree that if they knew the person they cared for had accurate energy bills, they’d have
more peace of mind.

For anyone worrying about managing the bills of someone else, requesting a smart meter
from their energy supplier on their behalf will ensure they only pay for the energy they use. It
also takes away the worry of having to take and submit meter readings as these are sent
automatically. The data smart meters provide has been identified by 2020Health* as one
way to help vulnerable people to live more independently.

As technology develops, the responsibility to help those that need extra support use it is
falling more and more to unpaid carers, with nearly a third (32%) helping someone to use a

Using a smart meter’s in-home display to better understand what home appliances use the
most energy could help to show the difference simple improvements like draught-proofing
could make to a monthly energy bill.

So, in anticipation of future price rises, home energy experts at Smart Energy GB have
identified three simple ways carers can prepare and improve the efficiency of the homes of

Get a smart meter for the person you look after to help get more control over energy
bills and better manage their finances.

  • Take control of household finances and don’t get caught out when prices rise, help
    prepare for when the bill arrives by knowing what it will be beforehand
  • Use a smart meter’s in-home display to see how much appliances such as a boilers
    or electric radiators add to the energy spend of the person you look after, so it’s not a
    shock when temperatures drop

Simple draught proofing measures and modern insulation for homes will help retain

  • About 25% of your heat will escape through the roof of your home and about 35%
    through the walls or gaps in and around windows and doors
  • Even putting simple insulation strips around windows and doors, available for a few
    pounds from most DIY shops, or making sure your letter box shuts securely could
    help stop heat being carried away. This will help improve your heating system’s
    efficiency and cost effectiveness

Ensure larger appliances and equipment are serviced and functioning well now, so
they don’t let you down later and result in an unexpected spend for you or the person
you look after.

These might be:

  • Stairlifts and other mobility equipment
  • Powered medical devices
  • Essential appliances such as ovens or washing machines

Phillippa Brown from Smart Energy GB, said: “Doing small things now to help prepare for
the future is vital, especially if you’re an unpaid carer. Arranging for someone you look after
to have a smart meter installed by their energy supplier will help them and you prepare for
future increases in energy prices, as you’ll both be able to keep track of what they’re

“Simple draught-proofing around windows and doors will also increase the efficiency of a
home’s heating system and could help your money go further when things get colder. A
smart meter’s in-home display will show you in pounds and pence and in near-real time how
much energy is being used so you can make small changes like this for those you look after
to help better manage their household finances.”

Smart Energy GB is the not-for-profit campaign helping everyone in Britain to understand the
importance of smart meters and their benefits to people and the environment. More
information about smart meters for carers is available at or search ‘get a
smart meter’.

To further support vulnerable customers, particularly those who are blind, partially sighted, or
have difficulties with dexterity or memory loss, an accessible in-home display has been
developed with help from the Royal National Institute of Blind People. This new display
audibly tells you how much energy you’re using in near-real time and can help more people
fully access their energy information.

Contact your energy supplier to request a smart meter at no extra cost or visit