I hate to admit it but there’s a chill in the air despite the bright sun and blue skies. Winter is coming and every year, we all hope that it won’t be as cold or as long as the year before, we hope for mild weather but that doesn’t stop our urge to put the heating on. Surveys earlier this year showed that 6 million households turned off their heating in attempts to save money but still paid more with more than a third saying that the cutbacks they had made affected their quality of life or health.
According to the Department of Energy & Climate Change in a report of Average expenditure each week on fuel consumed per household , spending on electricity by the average household in the UK has increased by 4.6% between 2012-2013, while spending on gas increased by 12.4%. This looks to increase steadily into the beginning of 2016, so read on for our saving tips in helping you save money this winter.
Check your tariff: Whether you receive an online copy or through the post, your energy bill should detail which tariff you are on. Industry watchdog Ofgem has ruled that your energy supplier should also include information about whether they offer any cheaper tariffs which you could switch to.
Regular meter readings: Taking regular meter readings and giving them to your supplier is always a good habit to have as you’ll always pay for exactly the amount of energy you’ve used each bill date rather than an estimated cost.
Compare your energy usage: It’s useful to keep track of how much energy you have been using by comparing previous bills with new ones. Your bill will never be exactly the same but big differences could be that you either have changed tariffs or suppliers, had building (or insulation) work or whether anybody has moved in or out of your home and don’t forget the weather always plays a part too.
Avoid prepayment meters: These meters work like a pay-as-go mobile phone, usually installed when someone has slipped into debt with the energy supplier. and ends up paying for any arrears as well as their current consumption. This method could help you to budget for your energy bills, but it generally ends up being one of the most expensive ways to pay for gas and electricity.
Switching fuel suppliers: you should always consider whether you are on the best deal for you. You may be able to reduce your energy bills if you shop around for a better deal for your fuel.
Dual fuel: This means that you receive your gas and electricity from the same energy supplier, rather than, as is more commonly the case, from two separate suppliers. This was traditionally quite popular, and for good reason as it seen to be more convenient, with the ability to combine bills for simplicity and with some energy suppliers offering dual fuel discount. However this option will not always be the best or cheapest option for you and running an energy comparison before making any decision will always give you a broader choice.
Monthly direct debit payments: Keeping on top of payments can always be tricky but switching to a more convenient method of payment, like Direct Debit or even changing to online bills could help you keep on top of your bills.
What if you are struggling to pay?
Never just ignore the bill, let you gas or electricity company know and they should be able to help you, especially if you are over 60.