Winter price rises by the UK's big six gas and electricity firms have been confirmed. Here's how to cut costs.
E.ON, EDF Energy, ScottishPower, British Gas, npower and SSE have all announced gas and electricity price rises for this winter.
E.ON is the latest firm to announce a price rise - a 3.7 per cent average increase as of 18 January.
This increase will see annual bills for E.ON's dual fuel customers - who take both gas and electricity from the firm – rise by £48 a year to £1,315 on average.
Winter gas & electricity price rises
- EDF Energy has announced a 3.9 per cent average increase as of 3 January, which will see annual bills for dual fuel customers rise by £49 a year to £1,300 on average.
- SSE, which also trades as Southern Electric, Swalec and Scottish Hydro, is increasing gas and electricity prices by an average of 8.2 per cent on 15 November, raising annual bills from £1,274 to £1,380.
- British Gas dual fuel customers will see prices go up by 9.2 per cent on average from 23 November, raising typical annual bills from £1,321 to £1,444.
- Npower has announced an average rise of 10.4 per cent for dual fuel customers, as of 1 December, taking their average annual bill from £1,323 to £1,459.
- ScottishPower dual fuel customers face an 8.6 per cent average price rise from 6 December, adding £113 to annual bills.
There are two ways householders can lower energy bills: firstly, by paying less for the energy you use and secondly, by reducing your energy usage.
Pay less for your energy usage
With the inflation-busting gas and electricity price hikes announced this winter, many consumers have been turning to fixed-price energy deals to shield themselves.
Fixed gas and electricity tariffs mean the unit price is guaranteed for a set period of time, so protect consumers against future price rises.
With a variable tariff, prices change in line with the cost of energy, so will be vulnerable to price rises.
Click the link to view our gas and electricity best buy table, which lists the cheapest deals.
How to switch gas & electricity supplier
- Visit Confused.com to switch gas and electricity. It helps to have a bill to hand.
- Enter your postcode and details of your current gas and electricity supplier, including the name of your tariff.
- Enter your annual spend on your bill or your annual usage. For the most accurate price comparison, enter your usage. You can find this out by calling your current supplier and asking for your usage over the past 12 months in kilowatt hours (kWh). Don't know your usage? Click the link to find out if you’re a low, medium or high energy user.
- Enter how you'd like to pay your bill. It is almost always cheaper to pay by direct debit. Suppliers are happy to offer discounts for customers who pay by direct debit as your payment is guaranteed.
Kate Rose, head of energy at Confused.com, says: "Pay by monthly direct debit, manage your account online with paperless billing, and opt for a dual fuel tariff to cut costs."
Reduce your energy usage
But switching suppliers isn't the only way to cut costs when it comes to gas and electricity.
It also pays to cut back on your energy usage where possible.
The Energy Saving Trust has produced the following top tips for householders on how to make homes more energy efficient.
Six easy ways to use less energy
- Draught-proof your home DIY draught-proofing of windows, doors and blocking cracks in floors and skirting boards could save £55 a year in a draughty home.
- Turn appliances off Save between £50 and £90 a year by simply remembering to turning off appliances left on standby.
- Careful in the kitchen Set your washing machine to wash at 30°C, use a bowl to wash up rather than leaving the hot tap running and boil only the amount of water you need to save around £55 a year in total.
- Control your heating The right controls will let you set your heating and hot water to come on and off when you need it, heat only the areas of your home you want, and decide how warm you want each area to be. Installing a room thermostat if you didn't have one before could save £70. This also means you can then make savings by using your controls more effectively. For example, turning down your room thermostat by just one degree if it's too warm inside could save around £65.
- Insulate your home Uninsulated loft? Save up to £180 a year by installing 270mm (10 inches) of insulation. Plus, if your home was built after 1920, the chances are that its external walls are made of two layers of brick with a gap or cavity between them. Cavity wall insulation fills that gap, keeping the warmth in to save energy. The average installation cost for cavity wall insulation is between £450 and £500 and can save up to £140 a year. The measure could pay for itself in less than four years.
- Check your bulbs If the average household replaced all their remaining old-fashioned bulbs with regular energy-saving bulbs (compact fluorescent lamps or CFLs) and all their halogen bulbs with LEDs, it would cost around £110 and save around £60 a year.
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