In the past week a great deal of attention has been drawn towards energy prices following Ed Miliband’s announcement that he intends to fix energy prices for 20 months should he prevail in the 2015 general election.
The statement has had many starting to consider their current energy deals as many begin to realise that receiving your energy from one of the ‘big six’ providers is not necessarily a beneficial thing.
Miliband has stated that if the fix is implemented that it would save the average household at least £120. Energy providers have hit out citing that the policy is economic madness and would be severely costly for all involved in the industry. This has sparked fears across consumers in the UK who are worried that the announcement will provoke energy companies to raise their prices prior to the election in order to ensure that they do not lose as much money as they stand to do.
In such an uncertain period, the ability to save money effectively on energy should be regarded as essential for consumers across the UK. Here are some key steps you can take this winter to ensure that you are saving as much money away as possible to use on that rainy day.
Statistics from Ofgem have illustrated that less people have chosen to switch gas supplier in recent times. In 2011 only 13% of gas customers chose to leave their existing supplier which compares to 20% in 2007.
However, switching supplier can save you a lot of money a year, especially as there are a few providers out there who are offering excellent and more affordable deals.
First Utility has introduced a tariff called ISave Fixed v9 April 2015 that represents the cheapest tariff per annum on the market right now. Customers on this pay on average £1182 a year and do not have to worry about having to pay cancellation fees if they do decide to leave. This compares to the £1245, £1209 and £1262 that British Gas, Eon and SSE offer on equivalent tariffs.
Similarly, Scottish Power has their Help Beat Cancer Fixed Price Energy January 2017 tariff which might save you money in the long term. Though the average cost is around £1341 a year, the price is guaranteed to stay the same for the next 3 years which would ensure that you are not affected by any potential price rises that energy providers might implement as the 2015 election draws closer.
Searching the market for a cheaper or fixed tariff should be regarded as essential if you are looking to save money on energy. If you do not know which provider offers the best deal then you should visit a comparison site in order to make the market evaluation process simple for you.
You should also remember that although dual fuel is often the cheaper option, there are some cases where it might be cheaper to acquire your gas and electricity from separate places. Remember to search the market thoroughly and contact your provider and ask them about what the best tariff they can offer to you is.
Change your method of payment
Though it might sound surprising, switching your payment method can often have an impact on how much you pay depending on your provider. Switching to online billing can often result in a 10% discount on what you pay a month. Similarly, subscribing to a direct debit scheme can also save in excess of £100.
It is always worth checking the deals your provider offers to see whether switching from paying by cash/cheque would improve the amount you pay a month.
Be more energy efficient
Being energy efficient is undoubtedly a skill and it can save you hundreds of pounds a year. You should not use more energy than is necessary and this includes keeping the central heating on for multiple hours in the day. Often your house only needs 2-3 hours of heating at different times of the day in order to ensure that it is warm for the entire day.
You should also look at getting your house draught proofed as this will prove a long term investment that could save you up to £160 a year.
You should also look at getting your loft insulated as this will prevent heat from leaving your house as quickly. Which? has recently produced statistics that illustrate that loft insulation to a thickness of 270mm in a standard 3 bedroom house could save just under £200 a year from bills alone.
Replacing your gas boiler with a new condensing one could also save you hundreds in your gas bill a year. Though the set up costs are expensive for this, amounting to around £2500, they will still prove a long term investment with the amount you save each year.
Turning off lights, plug switches and other electrical appliances might sound obvious but many people still continue to do this. Data from Which? has indicated that a monumental 16% of an average energy bill comes from neglecting to turn off a switch which is shocking considering the simplicity of what you need to do.