Today sees the launch of Citizens Advice Scotland’s Big Energy Saving week which aims to help people cut their fuel bills and get all the financial support they are entitled to.
During Big Energy Saving Week there will be local information events across Scotland to help people make savings on home energy costs. Here are ten top tips for cutting your fuel bills.
- Check your bills carefully and read your meter regularly. This will allow you to check how much energy you use, and make sure you’re paying the right amount
- Talk to your supplier if you think your bill is wrong or if you have problems paying. They’ll be able to give you advice about available support or talk you through repayment options.
- If money is tight, contact your local Citizens Advice Bureau. They can check to see if you are getting the benefits you are entitled to, or if you can get help paying your bills. Silver Line Scotland can also help.
- Make sure that you’re on the cheapest tariff. Check with your supplier and use an accredited switching website to see who’s offering the best deal. Tariffs are changing in 2014 so it is important that you are aware of your current deal and any changes your supplier is planning.
- Most energy suppliers offer fixed price tariffs, where the price of a unit of energy will stay the same for the length of the deal. These can work out cheaper in the long term and make it easier to budget – although you might need to pay by direct debit and your bills will still go up if you use more energy.
- If you use a pre-payment meter, remember that standing charges will be added daily – even when you aren’t using energy. Check how much they are and keep your meber topped up even during warm weather to avoid unexpected charges.
- If you use heating oil as your main fuel, buy before winter and see if there are any local oil buying clubs you can join. If not, you might want to start your own.
- Make your home more energy efficient – insulate lofts and walls, double glaze or use thick curtains to keep the heat in, and get your boiler serviced or replaced to ensure it is energy efficient. There are schemes to help with this.
- Save money and energy – don’t leave appliances on standy or leave laptops and mobile phones on charge unnecessarily. Fix leaking taps and always turn off the light when you leave a room.
- Do a home energy check to find out about savings of up to £250 a year on household energy bills. Visit the energy Saving Trust home energy check at hec.est.org.uk Use this check to get a full report with details of your home’s energy use and the savings you could make.
These actions can make a difference, but Age Scotland believes that a huge additional investment by the UK Government is also needed to end the scourge of fuel poverty once in for all. That’s why we’ll be calling on you to support Cold Homes Week, 3rd to 7th February, with a range of easy-to-do online and off-line actions.