When it's a bit chilly outside, some groups such as pensioners are particularly vulnerable to cold weather, especially energy costs.
In cold weather, many are worried about unaffordable high bills, and may be cutting down on their heating.
People need to make sure they stay warm, and should not be afraid of using energy as it's impossible to cut bills without putting themselves at risk. In other words, steps can be taken to remain warm without necessarily burning off cash.
Cold Weather Payments for seven consecutive freezing days
Measures are in place to help keep vulnerable groups warm in areas of cold weather.
If you get Pension Credit or are in a low-income household, for example, a Cold Weather Payment may be made to help with your energy bills.
If the average temperature is zero or below for seven consecutive days, you’ll automatically be paid £25 if you’re eligible.
To find out if you’re eligible, visit the DirectGov Cold Weather Payment page.
If you think a friend or relative may be eligible and may benefit from being helped in this respect, don’t be shy – let them know!
Check your bill, and review your payment method
If your bill seems higher than you expected, you could call your energy supplier to discuss the possibility of setting up a Direct Debit and spreading any arrears.
Changing your payment method might be a good idea anyway, as though most customers currently pay by cheque, a monthly Direct Debit is invariably cheaper.
If you don’t like surprises, then it’s worth considering a fixed-price tariff.
These are secure against inflation and energy price hikes, and could allow you to budget more effectively than if you were on a standard tariff.
Do keep the end date in mind though – fixed tariffs have a bad habit of coming to an end!
Also consider an online paperless tariff, as these tend to be cheaper too.
To find the supplier and tariff that best suits your circumstances, the smart way is to compare with a Consumer Focus-accredited site such as Confused.com.
To find the right tariff for you, compare with us now – it’s really quick and easy!
Take regular meter readings
Make sure you keep on top of your meter readings, as estimated billing can be inaccurate... It’s best to ensure you’re just paying for the energy you use, rather than overpaying when you don’t need to. If in doubt, ask a friend or family member to assist, or read our article on reading your meter.
Could you get a grant for insulation?
If a household has a resident aged 70 or over, then it qualifies for a 100% grant for loft and cavity wall insulation.
Even those who don’t qualify should ensure their property is properly insulated, as this is where poorly-insulated homes lose most of their heat.
Keep your boiler in good nick
It’s easy to forget one’s boiler if it’s always been in decent working order.
But those who’ve been plunged into the next ice age due to their boiler conking out will know it can be a total nightmare. For this reason, it’s worth considering boiler insurance.
Bonus top tip!
Whilst it’s cold outside, you could put the food and drink from your fridge (or even freezer) outdoors to save a bit of money.
Sounds like a joke, but seriously – can you think of a better time to defrost your fridge and freezer? You’re welcome!