Reduce energy bills and make life more affordable – The Green Doctors guide to an annual energy bill ‘health check’
Energy bills are one of the main financial concern for households in the UK. Rising energy prices coupled with a poor housing stock with little or inadequate insulation makes this concern very real when going to top-up your meter or paying your monthly or quarterly bill.
In addition most of us believe that bills can only be reduced by using less energy. This is a myth which the free energy service ‘Green Doctors’ at Groundwork, Leeds have been working to get rid of. On top of making behavioural changes to reduce energy consumption, it is important to do an annual energy bill ‘health check’ to see if you can save money with your current energy supplier or by switching your energy provider.
Here are the Green Doctors’ top five to reduce energy costs by reviewing your bill:
Check your energy bill or annual statement and consider the following.
- Payment method: You can often save money by changing the way you pay for your energy. Paying direct debit is the cheapest way of paying for energy and prepayment meters puts you on the most expensive tariff.
NB: If you want to switch from prepayment meters companies will do a credit check and some will charge to remove the meters. Check with different suppliers.
- Tariff name: Check your tariff name. If you have not signed up to a specific tariff you will most likely be on a ‘standard tariff’. This means that you are free to leave the energy company at any time without paying any exit fee. However, the price you pay per kWh is often higher on a standard tariff compared to a fixed term contract (usually for a year) known as a ‘fixed term tariff’.
- Switching energy supplier: Use Ofgem accredited comparison organisations to compare energy suppliers e.g. www.uSwitch.com. You can either call them and get help or do the comparison yourself on their website. For an accurate comparison all you need is your annual usage in kWh, your tariff and energy company name (which you can find on your bill) and finally your postcode. You will then receive a list of energy suppliers which can save you money. Make sure you choose the deal that suits your circumstances and preferences best with regard to payment method and billing.
- Switching tariff within your current energy supplier: You can always call your current supplier to see if they have a cheaper deal for you.
- Rebates and discounts: Check with your energy company whether they offer any rebates or discounts. These are mainly available to people on certain benefits, families with young children, elderly and people on incomes less than £16,000/year. The current scheme is called the Warm Homes Discount which is a £140 rebate provided by approximately 19 bigger and smaller energy companies. Check with your energy company whether you are eligible for this rebate.
For more information, to book a free energy workshop or find out whether you are eligible for a free energy service home visit from the Green Doctors, please contact the Green Doctors on (0113) 238 0601, email: firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.groundwork.org.uk/Sites/leeds/pages/green-doctor-leeds.
This post was written by Katrine Bay Madsen using our Create an article for South Leeds Life page.