Big Energy Saving Week: check
Energy bills are a significant concern for households. But you could save hundreds of pounds a year on your fuel bill by simply checking you’re not paying more than you have to for your energy. Follow our three simple steps below and you could reduce your fuel bill without having to cut down on the energy you use.
Check you are getting the best deal from your current supplier
Switching suppliers isn’t the only way to get a better deal. Most suppliers offer discounts for managing your account online or choosing a ‘dual fuel’ deal.
You should get personalised information on your bill about the cheapest tariff your supplier can offer you, and how much you can save. If your circumstances change in the meantime, call your supplier to discuss your options.
Use our price comparison tool to compare prices from different energy suppliers.
Check if there is a better way to pay your bills
The way you pay your bill can also make a difference. For example, most suppliers offer a discount for paying your bill by direct debit. On average it is £100 cheaper per year to pay by monthly direct debit than paying by cash or cheque.
You may also get discounts for receiving bills online, as this cuts down on paper and reduces costs for the supplier, and is good for the environment.
Contact your supplier directly to find out if there is a better way for you to pay, and that might save you money.
Check you are getting all the benefits and help you are entitled to
Making sure you are receiving all help you are entitled to will make paying for fuel bills and other household expenses easier.
Did you know that up to £17bn in benefits and tax credits went unclaimed in the UK in 2013? That's enough to pay the fuel bills of nearly 13.5 million homes!
If you are struggling to pay your energy bills, or simply want to make sure that you are getting all the financial help you are entitled to, your local Citizens Advice can help you to check that you are not missing out on any benefits or tax credits that could boost your income.
If you've reached state pension age you may get a Winter Fuel Payment to help with winter heating costs. This will be paid in the same way your benefit or pension is paid. If you’ve not received a Winter Fuel Payment before, phone the Winter Fuel Payments helpline on 0345 915 1515 to apply.
Some people who receive benefits can also get a Cold Weather Payment of £25 if the temperature drops below freezing in their local area for seven days in a row. You don't need to apply – if you are eligible it will be paid automatically in the same way you receive your benefits.
The Warm Home Discount scheme is a Government scheme, whereby energy suppliers provide rebates to households on certain benefits. The rebate is £140 for 2016/17 and you should contact your electricity supplier directly to see if you qualify.
If you use alternative fuels, check you are not overpaying
Liquid Petroleum Gas (LPG)
If you use LPG and have a tank for storing your LPG, you will normally have a contract with the tank owner to supply LPG. However, after 2 years you can shop around to see if you can get a better deal from other LPG suppliers. Most LPG suppliers provide payment plans or direct debit options to help you spread the cost of buying LPG. Nearly all LPG suppliers are members of the trade association, UKLPG. If you have a problem with your LPG supplier, you should ask your supplier for a copy of its complaints procedure. This will set out your rights as a LPG buyer.
You can find more information at www.uklpg.org. All UKLPG members have a vulnerable consumers’ protocol. This sets out the support available for customers with visual or hearing difficulties or who have problems paying their bills. LPG members will also give priority to vulnerable consumers when demand exceeds supply.
If you use coal or wood, it is usually cheaper to buy in bulk than in smaller bags. If you buy in bulk the supplier will normally deliver it to your home. However, you will normally have to pay up-front or agree a financial arrangement with your supplier. You also need to have space for storing solid fuel in bulk. You can find a lot of useful information about coal and wood on the Solid Fuel Association’s website: http://solidfuel.co.uk
For more information, see our Energy Best Deal booklet [ 0.59 mb].