The cost of wholesale gas, which we use to heat most of our homes and to generate much of our electricity, has increased by 250% in the past year, and 70% since August. Citizens Advice is asking the Government to provide emergency grant support, to provide extra to help people particularly affected by the rising cost of living.
How you can reduce your energy bills
There are ways to reduce how much electricity and gas you use. For example, you can:
- draught-proof your windows and doors
- use your tumble dryer less, if you have one – try to dry your clothes outside or by an open window instead
- run your washing machine at 30 degrees and make sure you wash a full load when you can
- use LED or other energy-efficient light bulbs
- turn off plug sockets at the wall if you’re not using them
- close your curtains in the evening to keep in heat when it’s cold
- make sure your fridge is set between 3 and 5 degrees and defrost your freezer regularly
- replace a showerhead to use less water and reducing time spent in the shower
- boil only the amount of water you need in your kettle.
If your energy supplier has gone bust
You’ll still have gas and electricity if your energy supplier goes out of business. The gas and electricity regulator, Ofgem, will move you to a new supplier. This should happen within a few weeks. Wait for your new supplier to contact you. They’ll explain what will happen with your account. Contact your new supplier if you don’t hear from them within two weeks.
Citizens Advice West Oxfordshire is here to help
We can help you understand your energy bills, support you if you want to switch and calculate the savings you might make. If you’ve fallen behind on bill payments, the charity can advise on ways to reduce your debt by budgeting or trying a new payment scheme.
Teresa Archer, Chief Officer at Citizen Advice West Oxfordshire said:
“We know this is an extremely worrying time for many. With the loss of the £20 per week Universal Credit uplift and energy companies predicting significant increases, we encourage those people who are in debt or are struggling to budget to get in touch so we can help them through these challenging times.”
Citizens Advice can also check your benefit entitlements and help you to claim them if you’re eligible. There are several helpful schemes like the Priority Services Register and the Warm Home Discount which saves £140 if you are eligible.
Consumer Service if you are having problems
The Citizens Advice consumer service, a free advice helpline for people having consumer problems is a vital part of the charity’s work as the consumer advocate for energy. If you’re in need of specialist support, you’ll be referred to the Extra Help Unit.
Contact Citizen Advice West Oxfordshire for advice on on 0808 278 7908 or email firstname.lastname@example.org