Alarming energy bills force couple to chop down trees to heat home

Cost of living: Three tips to save money on energy bills

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A couple has revealed they have been heading to their local woodland every evening to chop up fallen trees to use to burn for several days to heat their homes amid spiralling energy bills. With inflation hiking up the price of wood too amid the cost of living crisis, one couple has been burning wood from trees they chop down instead of whacking on the heating. A Telegraph reader wrote to the paper, saying: “Fireplaces are an expensive business – not least during a cost of living crisis.

 “Which is why my partner and I have found a new solution: heading to our local woodland each evening, chopping up the fallen trees in our midst and loading our rucksacks with enough to burn for several days. 

“This wasn’t how I planned to spend my October evenings. But the idea took root when we stepped off the plane a fortnight ago. After a gloriously sunny Spanish holiday, we returned to the beginnings of a grim British winter -– a feeling intensified all the more when we walked through our north London front door, where a chill had set in in our absence. “

It comes as energy bills have been forecast to reach over £4,000 in April when the energy price guarantee scheme is set to come to end. The measure was originally announced by Prime Minister Liz Truss, who is stepping down next week after being forced to resign following a disastrous few weeks in the job. 

When she came under scrutiny, Ms Truss’ main line of defence was that under her energy price guarantee, typical households would not have to pay more than £2,500 on bills a year, for the next two years, swerving horror forecasts that predicted bills would reach up to £6,000. 

However, this line of defence crumbled when Chancellor Jeremy Hunt – who replaced Kwasi Kwarteng after he was sacked for the not-so mini-budget which sent the markets into chaos – announced that the energy price guarantee will end in April. 

Now, forecasters have warned that bills could reach over £4,000 that month if the Government does not announce more support measures, although the Chancellor has said that more targeted support will follow. 

The move is Mr Hunt’s attempt to balance the books and save money. Ms Truss’ scheme was projected to cost around £60billion, but the Prime Minister refused to fund the measure by taxing the enormous profits of oil and gas giants, instead likely paying for the scheme via borrowing. 

And along with tax cuts for the rich, the markets got spooked by the policies unveiled by Ms Truss and Mr Kwarteng, many of which have since been reversed. Mr Hunt appears to be pulling the strings while the country waits for the announcement of the next Prime Minister next week. 

Me Hunt said: “Beyond [April], the Prime Minister and I have agreed it would not be responsible to continue exposing public finances to unlimited volatility in international gas prices. 

“The objective is to design a new approach that will cost the taxpayer significantly less than planned whilst ensuring enough support for those in need.”

But with alarming prices threatening to come back, it seems like more and more people may have to come up with inventive ways to save the bills, with many forced to choose between heating and eating. 

This is what appears to have inspired the Telegraph reader who has been chopping wood with their partner. They continued in their letter to the publication: “We were desperate to put the heating on but, with a projected energy bill of £6,000 for the next year, restrained ourselves, thinking setting a fire in the living room would be a compromise.

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“Then we realised we had no wood and that acquiring some at short notice given current financial constraints would be as damaging as if we’d succumbed to switching on the radiators. So I grabbed a saw from my toolbox, walked five minutes to the nearby forest and got hacking.”

However, it is important to note that “taking wood that’s not your own is not exactly legal. And nor is burning non-approved fuel in our non-exempt fireplace, since the 1956 Clean Air Act banned doing so in urban homes over half a century ago”, the reader wrote to the Telegraph saying. 

Wood burning is also seriously polluting and can be dangerous. Data has revealed that wood burning in homes produces even more small particle pollution than all road traffic in the UK. 

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