How Hailsham folks can save money on gas and electricity this winter
By benjs1 | Wednesday, October 19, 2011, 18:11
Energy prices have been in the news this week and with
Save money on gas and electricity this winter
winter on the way and gas and electricity prices being increased by at least
ten per cent by all of the big six suppliers now is a good time to check that
you are doing all you can to save money.
The recent background to the controversy surrounding the
high price rises goes like this.
Wholesale fuel prices have increased by a lot over the past
year and the energy firms say this is why they have had to put the price rises
up by so much.
Last week, Ofgem the regulator, calculated that energy firms
were making £125 in pure profit each year from each customer.
This is a bit misleading. It is true that if the recent
price rises were taken as a whole in comparison with the wholesale cost for a
year, Ofgem's claim would be correct but that is not the case.
By Ofgem's own figures, the energy companies made a net
profit of around two per cent (about £25 a year per customer) from 2004 to
Part of the cause of rising prices is the government's green
and renewable energy policy. To make this happen, expensive investment is
required and we as customers have to pay it.
The result of Monday's energy summit attended by the Prime
minister, David Cameron, the Energy Secretary, Chris Huhne, consumer groups and
the big six energy companies did not result in any action that will force
companies to lower their fuel bills.
The message from the government was basically that we need
to be pro-active in switching to a better deal. The energy firms coughed up
with a promise of free insulation and we were all reminded to be careful about
what we use in order to reduce bills.
So, what can we do to lower energy bills and not become one
of the 50 per cent of households who will be classified as being in fuel
poverty by 2015 if current usage and price trends continue?
Here are a few tips:-
- Make sure you are on an online tariff as these are charged
at a lower rate, usually 5% less.
- Make sure you pay by direct debit; again paperless billing
will save you around 5%.
- Some energy firms (including British Gas if you are on duel
fuel) will send you a free energy usage monitor. This helps you watch your
usage and can keep bills down.
- If you have never switched before, then use a comparison
site to compare the market and find a better deal. If you have switched but it
was more than a year ago, do it again. It is well worth comparing regularly as
one of the criticisms of the energy companies is that their bewildering array
of tariffs that keep changing confuses customers.
- If you are elderly or low paid or on benefits, work out if
your gas and electricity bills over a 12-month period cost you more than 10% of
your total income in the same period. If so, you are in fuel poverty and many
companies will refund you around 10% of your total bill.