Rising fuel bills and other household expenses are putting pressure on many families’ finances. But there are still ways in which you can cut costs and maximise your income this winter.
If you rely on heating oil to heat your home it is more important than ever to shop around. If you have internet access, use a price comparison website such as www.boilerjuice.co.uk before placing your order so you have a good idea of the going rate. Alternatively ring a few suppliers and ask for their ‘best price’ – don’t assume they will automatically offer you their most competitive tariff and don’t be afraid to haggle! Joining your local heating oil club can be another great way of finding savings. Speak to your Parish Council or neighbourhood group or go to www.uttlesford.gov.uk and search for ‘oil clubs’.
The power market is changing rapidly at the moment. Many energy companies are struggling, so you won’t find as many tariffs as normal. If you are coming to the end of a fixed price deal and can’t find a better tariff than the one you’re on it’s probably better to roll onto the standard variable rate and wait, as you will currently be protected by energy regulator Ofgem’s price cap.
If your energy supplier goes out of business, you’ll still have gas and electricity. Don’t switch tariff or supplier until your account is automatically moved to the new supplier as you might find it harder to get any money you’re owed if you switch before this happens. In the meantime, take regular meter readings (keeping dated photos, if you can). If you have an online account, log into it, check your balance and download any bills, or keep paper bills instead.
You can find more advice about your energy supply, including where to find help if you are struggling to pay your bill, at www.citizensadvice.org.uk. For a wealth of information to help you get the best deals on your household bills go to www.moneysavingexpert.com
If you can’t access the information you need online or you need more specialist support, the energy specialists at Uttlesford Citizens Advice can offer advice on a range of areas, including winter benefits and cold weather payments, the warm home discount scheme, energy efficiency measures, home improvement grants, switching energy suppliers and the priority services register; they can also help people to manage fuel related debt and access emergency support if needed. Call 01799 618858 or email email@example.com