Two thirds of people think their energy bill will be higher this winter – with many living in colder homes than they would like.
That’s according to new figures from Citizens Advice during Big Energy Saving Week (22-27 October) to help people cut their winter fuel bills.
Liberak Democrat MP Annette Brooke is supporting the campaign which will give people practical advice on how they can ‘check, switch and insulate’ to make savings on their energy bill.
Citizens Advice also found that 62% don’t having the heating on as much and 18% are not using some rooms in their home in a bid to cut the size of their energy bills.
Despite this only a quarter had checked with their supplier to see if they were on the best deal and just 16% had changed to another energy company.
Annette said: “It is now, when the temperatures start to drop, that people in Mid Dorset and North Poole begin to worry about whether they will be able to afford their winter energy bill. That’s why I’ve been backing Big Energy Saving Week to make sure my constituents aren’t paying more than they need to.”
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.”
To ease the strain of energy bills on your budget you can get advice online atwww.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 you are eligible for. Up to £20 billion of benefits went unclaimed in 2011. Your supplier might be able to offer you a discount if you are on certain benefits too. Speak to yourlocal 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 as much as £200 or more by shopping around. A list of accredited websites can be found atwww.consumerfocus.org.uk/get-advice/energy/confidence-code
- If you use heating oil, consider joining or setting up a local oil buying club. You might be able to negotiate a discount with suppliers if you are buying in bulk. Also, buy early before winter and you might get it cheaper.
- Insulate 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. There are different schemes for Scotland, England and Wales.
- 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 atwww.energysavingtrust.org.uk/Insulation/Home-Energy-Check