Couple face huge energy bills as their Christmas tree reaches 5ft tall with 3,000 lights | Personal Finance | Finance

Britons are being warned about massive costs of running Christmas lights.

From January 1, 2024, the price for energy a typical household who use gas and electricity and pay by Direct Debit will go up by £94. This will take the price cap from £1,834 to £1,928 per year.

Avril and Christopher Rowlands face huge energy costs a week after christmas as their Christmas tree now dominates the skyline and has become a local festive icon.

The Rowlands put their £6 fir outside their front window to mark their first Christmas together in their new home 44 years ago. Since then, the tree has grown to 50ft and towers over their four-bedroom home.

With over 3,000 lights, they switch on date has become an experience people look forward to in Inkberrow, Worcestershire. The Rowlands use the occasion to raise thousands of pounds for charity each year.

Even though the price of energy has skyrocketed, they have no plans to stop what has become an annual tradition. The energy provider phoned her up asking if there was anything they could do to help.

She said: “They actually got in touch with us two years ago, in January, and said: ‘Your electricity bill has gone very high. Can we help? Is there any reason this has happened?’

“So I told them and they said: ‘Oh, well, we’ll donate £100.’

”Green Energy, their provider, has stepped up again this year, offering to knock £100 off the couple’s electricity bill.

The switching on of the lights has already raised £800 for Worcester Food Bank.

Mrs Rowlands said that usually the couple chose a new charity each year, but are returning to the food bank for the second time in three years because it seemed appropriate given current circumstances.

In previous years, they have raised over £2,000 at a time for good causes. 

Despite being one of Britain’s “darkest” villages – Inkberrow has no street lights and the locals like it that way, once voting against illuminations in a referendum – villagers have embraced the luminous conifer.

Mrs Rowlands said: “We’ve only ever had very, very positive remarks, you know, there have even been some children who say that they like to look at the tree from their bedroom window.

“It’s a good cause, so we will carry on and not be put off by the energy prices. Thousands of people turn out for it, so we didn’t want to let anybody down.

“We’ve only ever had really, really good positive feedback. If they don’t like it, they haven’t told us. We couldn’t cut it down, we’d have to leave the village I think,” she joked.

As well as local collection boxes, the couple have an online crowdfunder set up. The tree will remain lit up until Epiphany on Jan 6.

Source link