Don’t live in fear of your energy bills this winter

Don’t live in fear of your energy bills this winter

The cold weather has arrived a little later than usual after a very warm October but after the latest bout of energy price increases many people are scared to turn their heating on.

Yet again energy suppliers have increased their prices just in time for winter when most people’s energy consumption is at its highest. With average prices increases of 17.4 per cent on gas and 10.8 per cent on electricity, one in four households are refusing to turn their heating on due to the fear of rising energy prices.

Scott Byrom, gas and electricity expert at energy comparison site said “Energy bills are certainly a ‘hot topic’ at the moment with the government urging consumers to take control and switch to cheaper deals.  Our survey found that worryingly six per cent of respondents can’t afford to turn on their heating”.

On top of this seventeen per cent of people said they will wait until it gets really cold before they turn their heating on.

Is there any help available?

Help is available for the most vulnerable customers. As part of the government’s spending review back in April 2011 the Warn Home Discount Scheme (WHDS) was introduced.

This scheme makes it law that energy companies above a certain size must provide a rebate for their most vulnerable energy customers bills. This coming winter that rebate should amount to £120 off their gas and electricity bills.

There are a number of ways in which you can qualify for this rebate:

  • If you receive Pension Credit
  • Claim income support
  • Claim income related employment and support allowance (ESA)
  • Are on job seekers allowance
  • Your household income is below £16,190 (British Gas only)

You may also qualify if you are in long term incapacity benefit and if a child in your family receives disability living allowance.  You may even be eligible if you have a child under the age of five. To find out if you are able to qualify then visit the WHDS website for more information.

What can I do to reduce my energy bills?

There are a number of ways in which you can act now to save money on your gas and electricity bills.

First you can install loft and cavity wall insulation. This alone can save up to £300 a year although the cost of installing it does not come cheap. Again the government can help with their CERT scheme which will pay 100 per cent of the cost to install cavity wall and loft insulation , again for the more vulnerable customers.

On this scheme however, even those on higher incomes may be eligible for grants between  70 and 80 per cent of the total cost.

If you haven’t already, install double glazing which can drastically reduce your energy consumption.  This works by trapping the heat inside your home thus allowing you to have the heating for shorter periods of time.

In an online age, still so many of us are on standard price tariffs which can be an energy suppliers most expensive tariff. By switching to an online tariff you can benefit from lower prices and the ease of viewing your bills online and the accuracy of entering your meter readings online.

“Finding the right tariff means bill payers could save on average £237 per year. For example, the cheapest online tariff available is npower’s Sign Online 24 with annual bills of £1,050 on average, but, for the same price, consumers can protect themselves against future price rises with either EDF Energy’s Fix for 2012 tariff with bills fixed at £1,050 until December 31st 2012, or OVO Energy’s New Energy Fixed product which is a set price for 12 months from the point the deal is taken out” said Scott Byrom.

Finally, if you are still worried about your energy usage this winter, invest in an energy monitor.  This will monitor how much energy you are using at any given point making you more keen to make sure the TV is not left on standby or lights upstairs are left on.

In the video below Les Roberts, online journalist at tested out EDF’s EcoManager and talks about how it works and how it will save you money.

Save money using an energy monitor


  1. one
    Comment by Sab Young: Nov 15, 2011 at 7:54 AM

    This is indeed a bit worrisome especially that Christmas is coming. I’m not sure if we could afford to put up Christmas lights this year. Maybe an energy monitor could help us balance the energy usage at home this Christmas.

  2. two
    Comment by Gabby: Dec 26, 2011 at 6:03 AM

    Wall Insulation will help you to save your money which you are paying on power bills. Wall insulation will maintain the room temperature due to this the consumption of power in maintaining the temperature in room during summer and winter season will be very less.

  3. three
    Comment by Kacs Stevie: Feb 23, 2012 at 6:14 PM

    My goodness, when I heard about bills, my mind is starting to really get annoyed.
    By the way Gabby, how long have you been using the Wall Insulation? Is that really effective.

  4. four
    Comment by Andrew@Wall Insulation: Apr 6, 2012 at 1:12 AM

    As compare Winter electricity bill with summers electricity bill, it get increases in winters we run water heater room heater and other things to keep room hot. Wall insulation will help to maintain electricity bill in both seasons and it will keep room cool and hot in both seasons respectively.

Comments Feed

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.