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 that were revealed during Citizens Advice's Big Energy Saving Week (22-27 October) launched to help people cut their winter fuel bills.
Local MP Jo Swinson 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 have the heating on as much as they would like to 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.
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.
Commenting Jo said:
"It is now, when the temperatures start to drop, that people in East Dunbartonshire begin to worry about whether they will be able to afford their winter energy bill. That's why I backed Big Energy Saving Week to make sure my constituents aren't paying more than they need to."
"People must check, switch and insulate to make sure that they're getting the best deal for their energy.
"One of the problems we face is that many homes are not insulated properly, meaning energy is wasted. Thanks to Liberal Democrats in the Coalition Government, the Green Deal is launching this autumn to insulate homes without any up-front cost.
"The Green Deal is a unique scheme because the cost of the energy saving measures will be paid out of the savings made on the energy bill. That means people can make their homes warmer without any worries. For information on the Green Deal call the help desk at 0207 090 1031 and for other ways to save energy and cut costs call the Home Energy Scotland Hotline at 0800 512 012."
Citizens Advice, Chief Executive, Gillian Guy said:
"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."
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 your local 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