The freezing weather gripping Britain as spring fails to make its mark is costing the country an extra £2.2 billion in energy bills, according to new figures.
With April in sight, the country is usually beginning to thaw and thermostats and central heating across the country are slowly phased out.
But this year's cold snap has brought snow in abundance and temperatures struggling to break from zero – and forecasters say it could last until the end of April.
The knock-on effect of the coldest March in 50 years, says moneysupermarket.com, is the energy bill of the average UK household doubling to £165 for the month.
Collectively, this amounts to an extra £2.2 billion spent on energy bills across the country.
Households hit hard
Clare Francis, editor in chief at MoneySupermarket, said: "There is no doubt that this winter, and the cold start to spring in particular, has really hit households hard at a time when the cost of heating your home is steadily rising.
"Before the cold winter months really took hold, our research found that 1.4 million households were already in debt to their gas and electricity supplier – with each bill payer owing on average £128.
Those in the red are likely to find it difficult to change supplier until the debt is cleared – and sadly with the weather conditions we've experienced this year so far that debt is more likely to have spiraled."
As of last week, the Department for Work and Pensions had authorised £4 million worth of cold weather payments during the month, as opposed to none last March.