Article by Citizens Advice
The average dual fuel bill now stands close to £1,400 – an increase of 36% over the past three years, when average earnings have only gone up by 5%.
You can save a substantial amount of money each year by switching, particularly if you’ve never switched before. But switching is only part of the answer.
Big Energy Saving Week, led by Citizens Advice and funded by five of the major energy suppliers, is here to help you save money and energy in three easy steps.
Check your bills
Firstly, check your bills to find out how much energy you’re using, work out what tariff you’re on and make sure you’re paying the right amount. This year, tariff and bill formats are changing, which makes 2014 a great time to make informed decisions about your energy usage. Give your supplier a ring to find out if you’re entitled to support, if you could benefit from moving to a fixed price tariff or to set up a repayment plan if you’re having difficulty keeping up with your bills. If money is tight, visit your local Citizens Advice Bureau for budgeting advice or to check you’re getting all the benefits you’re entitled to.
Switch your energy provider
Once you know where you stand, compare prices across the market using an accredited switching site. Switching is a simple process and you won’t notice any difference in your energy supply, although it could be substantially cheaper!
Plug your heat leaks!
Complement switching by insulating and taking other energy saving measures. We know houses in the UK are one of the leakiest in Europe, and much of your energy (and therefore the money you spend on it) could be escaping through your walls and roof. Through being more energy efficient, an average UK property could save £325 a year – this includes insulation, heating upgrades, switching to low energy lighting, selecting energy efficient appliances and adapting how you use energy and water in the home.
Is help available?
You can also visit Home Energy Check at http://hec.est.org.uk/ to get a full report with details of your home’s energy use and find out how you can make savings on your energy bill. There are Government and supplier schemes offering grants to help you make these changes, and some suppliers even offer discounted or completely free new energy-efficient boilers to their customers. This won’t just save you money but will also help keep your house warm in winter. Call your supplier or visit www.bigenergysavingweek.org.uk to find out what help is available.
This should help you to manage your energy bills and cut down the amount you use, without leaving you shivering. In addition, everyday measures, such as unplugging chargers when they’re not in use, switching off lights when you leave the room and turning appliances off rather than leaving them on standby can help you add to those savings (and do your bit for the environment).