In Depth

Five ways to cut down your energy bills

You should consider switching, but also look at whether you can move to direct debits - and try to use less energy

British Gas announced last week that it would be increasing electricity prices for customers by a shocking 12.5 per cent. Here’s five ways to cut your energy bills so you aren’t hit to hard by rising prices.

Switch

The simplest way to save yourself a lot of money is to switch provider. You could save as much as £250 a year by switching, based on the average price for a standard tariff and the cheapest fixed deals.

Simply arm yourself with your most recent gas and electricity bills then tap your details into a comparison website such as Comparethemarket or Uswitch to find the best deal for you and see how much you could save.

Switching is very straightforward. You just need to pick which company you want to move to then give them your details. They will organise to take over your supply on a set date and handle almost everything for you. On that day of the switch you just need to give meter readings to your old supplier for your final bill - and that’s it.

Ask your provider for a better deal

If you can’t be bothered to switch, or are worried about the hassle (there really isn’t any) then you can just see if your current provider could move you onto a better deal. There is an average difference of £109 between supplier’s standard tariffs and their best deals, according to research by Bulb.

Pay Monthly

You can save an average £75 a year by paying your energy bills by monthly direct debit rather than when you get a bill, according to MoneySavingExpert’s Martin Lewis.

Energy firms like direct debits because it gives the regular income and protects them from your failing to pay your bills. Just make sure your direct debit amount is accurate and you aren’t massively overpaying or underpaying. Underpay and you could get landed with a shock bill, overpay and you are building up a cash pile with your energy provider that is unlikely to be earning you any interest.

Give accurate meter readings

Unless you have a smart meter you need to give your energy provider regular meter readings. If you don’t your bills will be based on estimated usage, which could mean you pay far more than you need to. Alternatively, it could mean you are underpaying and when an accurate meter reading is eventually seen you get a big bill.

Use less energy

Saving money on your energy bills isn’t just about cutting the price you pay, reducing the amount of energy you use will also save you plenty of money.

To cut your heating bills put a jumper on and turn your thermostat down, keep windows shut and see if you can improve the insulation on your home so you aren’t paying for heat that is escaping from your house without warming you up.

Keep your electricity bills down by turning lights off in rooms you aren’t using, use energy saving lightbulbs, don’t leave your TV on standby and de-frost the fridge.

All these little things will add up to savings on your bills. Getting a smart meter installed can help you keep track of your energy use much more accurately.

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