‘My flatmates refuse to cut back on energy use now I can’t afford to live with them’

After Ofgem announced last week that its price cap will rise to £3,549 from October 1, millions of Brits are checking their energy usage to find out where they can cut back and save money. But one woman has said she’s been unable to get through to her flatmates on the importance of using less energy, which has left her struggling to see how she can keep on sharing a home with them.

The woman claimed she currently splits her bills evenly with her two friends, but they use more electricity than she does as they like to leave lights on in the house and even go to sleep with their TV on. She proposed a plan to cut back on their energy usage to reduce their bills but was told they wouldn’t “give up their comforts” just because she can’t afford her third of the bills.

In response, the woman has been forced to make plans to move back into her family home with her parents, as her bills have skyrocketed from £60-a-month to £200.

She wrote in a post on Reddit: “The UK is in a crisis with energy bills right now and it’s going to get worse. Predictions are for bills to rise over 80% this winter. Last winter was bad enough for my household and I only just got by.

“My friends and I live together. Their income is more but we split everything evenly. Growing up poor I’m very conscious about how my usage. The other two are not. They leave lights on 24/7. They have the heating on for hours with windows open and refuse to wear a jumper if it’s cold. One has an air conditioner that she leaves on for hours even when she’s not in, and the other sleeps with a heater AND a fan on all night. Both sleep with their TVs on.

“I’ve had multiple talks with them about their usage and stated clearly if they cannot cut down on bills I’ll have to move out. Yesterday I got our recent electric bill. In a year it’s gone from £60 per month to just under £200. I sat them down and told them I cannot afford to live like this.”

The woman asked her flatmates to consider cutting back by doing things such as turning off electronics when they’re not in use, turning lights off when you’re not in the room, and putting the heating on a timer.

But her friends rejected the changes and refused to compromise, which forced the woman to make a decision about her living situation – although this prompted her mates to call her “selfish” for leaving them.

She added: “They refused all my rules saying it’s not their fault the country is in crisis and they won’t give up their comfort because of my problems. One told me to get a better-paying job, but she knows I can’t (I’m entry level and pay goes up after training).

“No resolution was made so last night my mum said I can live with her for a while to save. I told them this morning I’ll be moving out in 6 weeks when our contract ends and they blew up saying they can’t afford rent and bills without my share and don’t have anyone to replace me.

“They’re both saying I’m a selfish a**hole and now one of them won’t even talk to me. Neither has sent me the money for the bill. I do feel bad because I don’t know how they’ll cope without my input but I’m broke, my savings are almost gone.”

Commenters on the post were firmly on the woman’s side, as many of them said she has to do what’s right for her and her financial situation, especially if her flatmates won’t do anything to cut back their energy usage.

One person wrote: “They can’t have their cake and eat it too. If they ain’t willing to put in the work to cut down, maybe they can put in the work to find a new roommate.”

While another said: “You made very reasonable suggestions, and they shut you down. You’re not really asking them to go without, you’re just asking them to be more conscientious. What exactly do they expect you to do other than move out?”

And a third posted: “They didn’t help you in keeping the bill low and now they want you to help them keep the bill low. It’s just perfect karma and also just the right thing to do.”