Growing Student Fear Over Rising Energy Costs

Esme McKenzie

Energy bills will see an 80% increase for the average household from October 1st, when the new energy price cap is introduced. Esme McKenzie spoke to the University of Nottingham’s Financial Support team and reports on the impact the increasing energy costs will have on students.

Students are increasingly worried about their financial and living situations, as energy bills are set to rise sharply at the start of the new academic year. The new energy price cap, set to be introduced from October 1st, will see energy bills for a typical household rise to £3,546 a year. This is around an 80% increase as average bills under the current price cap are £1,971 a year. 

One student, about to enter their third year said that their bills have already “significantly increased” from what they paid last year. As a result, they have been left feeling “worried” for future increasing costs.

Masters student Gemma Cockrell says the “uncertainty of how much energy prices will rise makes it very scary” going into the new academic year. Gemma is renting a two-person flat in Nottingham city centre and is already paying £68 a month for gas and electricity bills which she feels is “very high already”. She says that her bills this year are double the cost of a similar city-centre flat last year. Her fixed master’s loan does not cover her rent, leaving her feeling “guilty” as she is increasingly reliant on her parents, who are also “anxious” about their rising energy bills. 

“The future rise in costs is a lot to deal with”

A spokesperson from the University Financial Support team stated that the university “is working up a package of support for them to help ease” students’ concerns. The financial support the University is offering is “likely to include increasing the amount of, and access to hardship funds, as well as targeted support to help students access sport, societies and the additional costs of student life.” The Financial Support team has promised more financial advice will be offered to students, including help to manage student budgets “alongside providing more self-catering facilities and budget food options on campus.” The university is also working with the SU to see if they can provide “a range of warm places on campus to provide entertainment and spaces to study across the winter evenings.”

The rise in energy bills comes partially due to many energy companies collapsing in 2021 as gas and electricity producers increased their prices. Sanctions against Russia have also been a factor in the increasing costs, after sanctions were imposed after the outbreak of the war.

The effects of the increasing energy prices have meant one third of households are currently struggling to pay their bills: a figure set to increase once the new price cap is introduced. Little financial support from the government has been offered, leaving students fearful over the rising cost of living.

Esme McKenzie

Featured image courtesy of The Focal Project via Flickr. Image licence found here. No changes were made to this image.

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