And now how to save on your bills this winter?
The most important is not only in saving on bill but in general is budgeting: making provisions for that inevitable energy bill is a wise move, especially when energy prices have increased by an average of 40%, over the last year. In case consumer is unable to pay the bill, the first thing to do is to contact the energy supplier as they will be able to spread any arrears by introducing a new payment arrangement which could involve paying back the outstanding amount in installments. Hopefully the situation won’t be so much serious that the proceedings be potentially concluded with a court summons.
Switching to a better payment method is not less important. Direct debit payments help consumers to budget. These payments can either be fixed, spreading the predicted annual bill over 12 months, or the variable quarterly bill can be paid by direct debit. Suppliers also offer discounts for those who use this payment method.
The key is to stay informed.
Look into switching energy supplier or tariffs. According to the last year results, there was a huge amount of activity in terms of rising energy costs but, as an ICM survey carried out on behalf of Age Concern, there was no corresponding increase in switching activity. The survey found that 20% of consumers reviewed their energy supplier in 2008, compared to 18% the year before. This figure is all the more shocking when considering that those who have never switched could save, on average, nearly £240 over the course of the year.
There are 14,000 tariffs on the market, so simply switching tariffs without switching supplier could also be a wise move.
"For the millions of people who have a bank account, it is wise to pay energy bills by direct debit, at the very least. As well as the discounts that apply, it will ensure that customers never miss payments, and will help them plan for that shocking winter bill - the impact of which will have been heightened by time off over Christmas and freezing weather conditions. However, as discounts vary, depending on the supplier and tariff, it is always wise to shop around for the best tariff for consumers' particular needs. Energy comparison sites enable consumers to search for the most comprehensive tariffs on the market, with quotes delivered in a matter of minutes."