Labour leader Ed Miliband hit the headlines at his recent party conference by vowing to make energy companies slash their prices if he was elected into power. There is no doubt that the cost of energy such as gas and electricity can place a real strain on a household’s finances – especially during the winter months. If Labour get into power at the next general election Mr Miliband promised that household energy bills would be frozen for the first two years of his government. This would save the average house about £120 a year.
Consumer groups have welcomed this news, although the energy companies are predictably unhappy about the possible intervention. Bills seem to sky rocket every single year, and the average house now pays around £1300 on gas and electricity. With prices rising at an inflation busting nine percent each year, many people have felt the pinch during the recession, especially as the jobs market is in such a precarious position.
Unfortunately, electricity prices are set to rise during the next few weeks and months as the wholesale cost of energy is passed on to consumers by the suppliers. There are fears that a lot of people simply will not be able to afford to keep warm this winter. However, there are ways in which household energy bills can be reduced. The possibility to switch gas suppliers is always an option worth looking into, and the process isn’t as painful as one may first expect.
Clare Francis, a switching service, said: “There are 12.6 million households paying their provider’s standard gas and electricity prices and collectively they are paying £2bn a year more than they need to for their energy. With a further round of price rises expected in the coming months, the time to act is now.”
One option to consider is to switch to LPG. Approximately 150,000 people have made the LPG switch in the UK so far, and this alternative energy source has been operating for over 65 years. With the political debate over energy prices sure to rumble on in Westminster for a long time, it is up to individuals to take control of their own household bills and LPG may turn out to be a far more cost effective setup than a traditional one.
However, if you are stuck with a tariff, there are some simple things that should be checked to ensure that bills are not being overpaid. Direct debit customers are often in credit at the end of the summer months, and it is worth ringing up suppliers to check if they owe anything back to you. It is always worth analysing bills properly in order to spot potential mistakes. Some households may want to look at the prospect of joining a fixed tariff scheme in order to combat any eye watering price increases over the winter. The main thing is that if you are unhappy with your current energy setup, research the alternative options and do something to change for the better.
About the Author:
Sarah Makinson is a regular contributor to lifestyle blogs and is particularly passionate about reducing costs. Read more about how she saves money at sites such as Calor Gas.
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