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Thirteen million households have endured a winter of discontent as sky-high energy prices left families shivering in their homes. Despite Britain being gripped by the worst cold spell for 30 years, seven out of 10 people say they turned down the thermostat or rationed their heating for fear of the cost, research has revealed. Others were so worried they switched the heating off altogether, with more than a third doing so occasionally over the winter, 12% regularly and the equivalent of 338,000 households never putting it on at all.

Some went to extreme measures to save money, according to a survey of 4,700 people by price comparison website More than a quarter had the heating on in just one or two rooms and half wore extra clothes indoors. One in 10 even went to friends and family or the local library in a bid to keep warm.

Ann Robinson, director of consumer policy at uSwitch, said: “The reality this winter is that many households were forced into a self-imposed ice age, with people cutting down or rationing their heating due to concerns about the cost. This isn’t just shameful, it raises a huge question mark over the ongoing affordability of energy and it’s something that needs to be tackled as a matter of urgency.”

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