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Cost of bills underestimated in UK

Tuesday December 3rd 2013

Families could be underestimating the annual cost of major household bills by hundreds of pounds, according to a survey.

A poll of 2,000 bill payers found then when asked to estimate their total spend on things like council tax, gas and electricity, many were out by an average of £467 a year.

Santander Current Accounts, which conducted the research, compared people's estimations with official figures from regulators such as Ofcom, Ofwat and Ofgem.

People were asked what they thought their annual spend was on things like council tax, gas, electricity, water, television, phone and broadband over a 12-month period.

On average respondents said their council tax bill was about £672, but in fact the typical annual bill is £1,444 - double their estimate. The cost of gas over a year was underestimated by £243 per year on average, while the cost of electricity was £72 lower than the actual spend.

However bill payers overestimated the yearly cost of TV, phone and broadband costs by £374 on average.

Matt Hall, director of banking at Santander, said: "Household bills have risen significantly in recent years. With many people's income not growing as fast, many families are struggling.

"While almost all households are making efforts to manage their energy consumption, people could manage their household bills more efficiently by providing their supplier with regular meter readings and checking statements thoroughly."

Copyright Press Association 2013

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