This post was written by Kierra Box from the Citizens Advice Bureau to promote Big Energy Saving Week 2014. The Big Energy Saving Week campaign is being led by the Energy Saving Trust.
It is easy to be sceptical about switching energy. Many people are worried that it will be confusing, will take a long time or simply won’t save much money.
However, research by the Citizens Advice Bureau found that almost half of all people who come to them for help are struggling to pay their energy bills. Of these, only 16% have switched supplier.
Switching is simple and you won’t notice any difference in your energy supply, although you could save as much as £200 each year, particularly if you’ve never switched before
Tenants and prepayment customers – Don’t think you can’t switch
Some people – such as prepayment meter customers and renters – are under the impression that they can’t switch. But this simply isn’t true.
If you pay for your energy directly then you have every right to switch to a cheaper deal. If energy bills are part of your rent, speak to your landlord if you want to switch. The same goes for households with prepayment meters. Suppliers must now allow prepayment meter customers who are in debt to switch as long as they owe £500 or less per fuel. Choosing a new deal online can take just minutes and by the end of this year, switching will take just 17 days in total.
Three steps to saving on your energy bills
However, switching alone is not the Holy Grail. Big Energy Saving Week 2014, led by the Citizens Advice Bureau and the Department for Energy and Climate Change, is here to help you to manage your energy bills, without leaving you shivering, in three easy steps:
- Check how much energy you’re using and how much your supplier is charging you for it. Simpler bills and tariffs make this easier than ever before.
- Switch to save money. Compare prices across the market using an accredited switching site such as this one.
- Insulate your home and make simple changes, like turning off your TV and games consoles rather than leaving them on standby, which could save as much as £130 a year. Bigger changes including installing insulation or double glazing and upgrading your boiler could save up to £320 a year.
And don’t forget – give your supplier a ring if you are having problems paying. 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.