Cost of living: Energy boss on ‘mechanism’ to help consumers
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A typical household will now face a £363 monthly energy bill, as Ofgem is increasing the energy price cap to £3,549 a year from October. Saving expert Nick Drewe, from online discounts group WeThrift, has shared some tips to reduce a household’s gas and heating bills.
Checking bills regularly is a good habit as suppliers can make mistakes when charging customers, and the tariff may have changed.
This may be especially important for those who work from home, as energy bills for water, energy and mobile data are all “likely to increase” during the winter, said Mr Drewe.
A practical way to slash heating costs is to make sure radiators are turned off in rooms that don’t require heating.
Thermostatic valves on radiators can help regulate the temperature in rooms as they turn off the heating if a room is not in use.
Setting a timer is another way to make sure the heating is only on when necessary, avoiding wasting heating.
If the timer is set to switch off an hour before a person arrives home from work and to come back on in the morning, this will help keep the home warm while minimising energy use.
Mr Drewe said it’s also important to research a gas and electricity supplier before signing up with them.
He said: “While many bill payers may instinctively choose an energy supplier they are familiar with, this may not always be the most cost effective option.
“Really delve into a wide range of energy suppliers available and compare their prices.
“Also note, if you are looking to switch energy suppliers, be sure to analyse each company’s exit fees, and opt for one that won’t charge the earth if you want to leave.”
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Consumers should also take time to understand their energy bill, reading over the terms and conditions and trying to understand their tariff.
Key elements on the bill to take note of include the personal projection, which is the amount the household is expected to spend over the next 12 months.
The tariff comparison rate is also worth looking at, as this shows how much the person is spending per kilowatt hour of gas and electricity.
Knowing this information will help monitor consumption and make it easier when comparing energy deals to see which is cheaper.
Britons can also reduce their costs by regularly having their boiler serviced, and arranging an energy audit.
Mr Drewe said: “A serviced boiler will automatically help you save money as it’ll help it to run at its most efficient level.
“You can also maximise your savings by arranging an energy audit which will identify any areas where there’s excess energy waste.”
People who live alone may have additional means to reduce their cost of living, including a 25 percent discount on their council tax bill.
This could save a person hundreds of pounds a year, which could be a key saving as prices increase.
Mr Drewe said: “It’s also worth checking any benefits you may be entitled to, often based not only on your individual wage, but on total household income.
“Those who live alone can be eligible for financial assistance you’re not receiving.”
Financial support charity, Turn2us, has an online benefits calculator which people can use to work out what help they are entitled to.
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