Two thirds of people think their energy bill will be higher this winter, with many living in colder homes than they would like, according to new figures from Citizens Advice. It launched Big Energy Saving Week (22-27 October) to help people cut their winter fuel bills.
Greg Hands M.P. is supporting the campaign, which gives people practical advice on how they can ‘check, switch and insulate’ to make savings on their energy bill.
Citizens Advice also found that only a quarter of people had checked with their supplier to see if they were on the best deal, and just 16% had changed to another energy company.
Citizens Advice, Chief Executive, Gillian Guy said: “People must check, switch and insulate to make sure that they’re getting the best deal for their energy.
“Big energy bills and rising daily costs are putting extra pressure on household budgets that are already stretched thin. We’re worried that some people are finding themselves unnecessarily hard-up because they’re paying more than they have to for their fuel bill and aren’t getting all of the help that’s available to them.
“Throughout Big Energy Saving Week we’re helping the nation prepare for winter and putting money back in people’s pockets.”
Greg Hands M.P. added: “It is now, when the temperatures start to drop, that people begin to worry about whether they will be able to afford their winter energy bill. That’s why I am backing Big Energy Saving Week to make sure my constituents in Chelsea and Fulham aren’t paying more than they need.”
To ease the strain of energy bills on your budget you can get advice online at www.bigenergysavingweek.org.uk, on the phone 0300 123 1234 or through your local CAB and at local Big Energy Saving Week events.
Big Energy Saving Week top tips to cut bills:
Check you are on the best deal with your current supplier and whether there is a better way you can pay your bills. Most suppliers offer a discount if you pay by direct debit, on average around £100, compared to paying your bill by cash or cheque.
Make sure you are getting all the financial help for which you are eligible. Up to £20 billion of assistance went unclaimed in 2011. Your supplier might also be able to offer you a discount if you are on certain benefits. Speak to your local Citizens Advice Bureau who can help.
Switch to a better deal with a new supplier, particularly if you have never switched before. You could potentially save £200 or more by shopping around. A list of accredited websites can be found at www.consumerfocus.org.uk/get-advice/energy/confidence-code.
Insulating the loft and cavity walls of your home is a great way to save money on your heating bills – up to £160 per year if you do both. Most major energy suppliers are also offering this free or at a reduced price. Act now before winter!
You might also be able to get some help with improving the efficiency of your property from Government funded schemes, if you are on a low income. The scheme is outlined here.
There are also lots of small things you can do for free or at low cost around the home to save money on your energy bills saving, on average, up to £195 per year. You can find out more by calling the Energy Saving Trust on 0300 123 1234 or fill out an online home energy check at www.energysavingtrust.org.uk/Insulation/Home-Energy-Check.