This year, Big Energy Saving Week runs from 17 to 22 January. The national campaign, led by Citizens Advice and the Energy Saving Trust helps people to reduce their energy bills and access financial support.
As part of Big Energy Saving Week, our Graduate Business Partner (Sustainability), Steph, is sharing some tips which may help you find savings on your energy bills or access discounts you could be entitled to.
Energy bills are a significant concern for households, particularly as energy prices are increasing. But you could save money on your energy bills by simply checking you’re not paying more than you need to for your energy. Follow these simple steps and you could reduce your energy bill without major lifestyle changes.
Tip 1. Understand your bills
- Your energy bill will include a unit cost for the energy you use and a standing charge. This is a fixed cost by your supplier for administration, supply and maintenance. Visit Ofgem for more information on your bill breakdown: Costs in your energy bill | Ofgem
Tip 2. Check you are getting the best deal from your current provider
- Lots of people are on a standard tariff, which is unlikely to be the best deal for them. Many suppliers offer a range of tariffs, so it’s a good idea to find out if there is a cheaper option available.
- Using the same provider for gas and electricity, known as a dual fuel deal, could be cheaper than using separate providers.
- 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.
Tip 3. Review the way you pay your bills
- The way you pay your bill can also make a difference. Most suppliers offer a discount for paying your bill by Direct Debit, rather than paying by cash or cheque. Some also offer additional discounts for paperless billing instead of receiving bills in the post.
- It’s important to only change your payment method if you know that it works for you. Contact your supplier directly to find out if there is a better way for you to pay, this might save you money.
Tip 4. Consider different types of rates
- An off-peak tariff could help you save money if you run your heating or appliances at certain times of the day or night, such as Electric Storage Heaters or a washing machine. But do your research; an off-peak tariff is not cheaper for everyone and be aware of fire hazards when running appliances while you sleep.
Tip 5. Move away from pre-payment meters
- Pre-payment meters are often the most expensive way to pay for your energy, however they can help people to budget and prevent large energy bills.
- You may be able to ask your energy supplier to replace it with a standard credit meter, this type of meter doesn't let you prepay for your energy.
- Or ask your supplier about making the move to a smart meter. A smart meter shows how much energy you’re using and what it costs. It can help you to cut your energy bills by showing you what you use energy for. This type of meter also has a prepayment setting your supplier can turn on or off.
- Your supplier usually won’t replace your meter or change your smart meter setting if you’re in debt to them.
Tip 6. Remember prices can rise and fall.
- As we’ve seen recently, energy prices can rise and fall, and the review of the price cap is due in April. Some providers have an exit fee, so if you tie in and prices go down, you may be stuck with a fee to lower your bills.
If you're not tied to your current provider, check to see if switching could save you money.
- You could save money by comparing gas and electricity offers and then switching suppliers. If you’ve never switched before, it’s worth having a look to see what’s on offer. But always check the length of any deal and see if there are any charges for ending the deal early.
- Because energy companies are struggling, you won't find as many tariffs as normal. If you don’t find a better tariff than the current one you’re on, it’s probably better to wait until deals are available again.
How to Switch?
Check whether you could save money with the Citizens Advice energy price comparison tool which is free to use. Citizens Advice also offer advice and tips when switching. If you don't have internet access you can phone the Citizens Advice consumer service on 03454 04 05 06.
Alternatively, use an of Ofgem-accredited price comparison website to find out what you could save by switching.
- Energy Helpline
- The Energy Shop
- Money Supermarket
- My Utility Genius
- Simply Switch
- Switch Gas and Electric
- Unravel It
To make sure you get the best deal, it’s useful to have some information with you including, the name of your current supplier and tariff, how you currently pay, your postcode and the amount of energy you use (if available).
Some suppliers have signed up to the Energy Switch Guarantee, which commits them to provide a reliable and simple switch. Or you can ask your current supplier if they will match an offer if you find one that’s better elsewhere.
You can find out more about switching suppliers or specific energy advice on these Citizens Advice webpages:
- Switch energy supplier
- Compare gas and electricity prices
- Save money on your gas and electricity
- Switching energy supplier if you’re a tenant
- Switching energy supplier if you’re in debt
- Your energy supplier has gone bust
You may be eligible for extra financial help this winter. If you're struggling to pay your gas and electricity bills there are some additional extra payments and schemes available to help.
Warm Home Discount Scheme
If you’re on a low income or receive Guaranteed Credit (part of Pension Credit) you might be able to claim a Warm Home Discount from your supplier this winter.
- The Warm Home Discount could give you an extra £140 towards your fuel bill.
- Your Winter Fuel Payment and Cold Weather Payments are not affected by this.
- To find out if you’re eligible, contact your energy supplier or visit the government's Warm Home Discount Scheme website.
Winter Fuel Payment
The Winter Fuel Payment is an annual one-off payment for heating during the winter. If you were born on or before 26 September 1955, the Winter Fuel Payment could help pay for your heating bills.
- If eligible, you could get between £100 and £300 to help you pay your heating bills.
- You will get your Winter Fuel Payments automatically if you are eligible and receive the State Pension.
- The deadline for you to make a claim for winter 2021/22 is 31 March 22. To find out more, please visit the government’s Winter Fuel Payment website.
Cold Weather Payment
If the temperature has been below zero degree celsius for the past seven days, you might be able to get a cold weather payment if you receive certain benefits.
- If eligible, you could get a payment if the average temperature in your area is recorded as (or forecast to be) zero degrees celsius or below over 7 consecutive days.
- The payment gives you £25 for each 7 day period of very cold weather between 1 November and 31 March.
- To find out more, please visit the government’s Cold Weather Payment website.
Citizens Advice provide more information on getting additional help.