Consumers face record winter fuel bills
The average winter fuel bill is likely to cost a whopping £630 thanks to rising energy costs, Energyhelpline.com has warned.
The price comparison website says consumers will face record winter fuel bills after four of the six big providers announced price hikes.
British Gas, Scottish Power, Scottish and Southern Energy (SSE) and npower have all introduced price increases while E.ON has yet to declare its plans. Only EDF has announced a price freeze until March 1.
At the beginning of December, British Gas increased its price for gas and electricity by 7%. At the same time, npower announced a 5.1% increase for typical dual fuel users, effective from 4 January.
Meanwhile, ScottishPower introduced a 4.7% rise for gas and electricity on November 25 and SSE brought in a 9.4% increase for gas on December 1.
Mark Todd, director of Energyhelpline.com, says: "The stark reality is that customers are going to be clobbered over the winter if the Big Freeze continues to grip the country. We believe that in December alone households will be hit with a 47% hike in gas bills to £159 and January and February are traditionally higher usage months so this figure is likely to soar".
Five ways you can cut your bill
1. Switch supplier – go to moneywise.co.uk/spending/cut-your-bills to find the best rates for you. Alternatively, visit price compassion sites such as energyhelpline.com, TheEnergyShop.com or uSwitch.com which all list the most competitive deals on the market.
2. Replace your boiler – old boilers do not run as efficiently as they could. If your boiler is more than 10 years old it is unlikely to be working efficiently. Modern condensing boilers are much more cost efficient than the older conventional boilers.
3. Reduce how much energy you use – turn off electrical items when you're not using them. Lowering your thermostat can also help save money. For each degree you lower it you could save around 1% on your bill.
4. Read your meter – Most suppliers bill you by estimating how much electricity you have used. By taking accurate readings you can make sure you don't end up paying more than you should. You can also claim a refund if you've been over charged.
5. To cut your bills long-term consider getting adequate insulation – the amount of heat lost through your loft is enough to heat three homes. Insulation should be at 10.5 inches think in order to be effective.
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