No one likes to be cold, but for an increasing number of people, this unfortunately is becoming an all too common reality as fuel bills continue their relentless rise.Like other financial behaviour, there are several ways that everyone can help to either lower their bills or at least ensure they do not pay any more for their fuel than they currently do. Like every other aspect of financial management, the steps involved are not difficult but demand only a little time and effort to do your research and gain the best deal for you.
Clearly the most effective way to control fuel bills is to try to reduce the energy that you burn around the home. Much of this can be controlled by avoiding waste, such as turning off unwanted appliances and standbys and by reducing/turning off heating in unused parts of the house. However, it might surprise many people to know that the simple step of switching electricity provider can actually save more in some cases.
The era of cheap electric and other energy providers is well and truly in the past, but this makes it even more vital that consumers use every tactic they can to reduce their bills.
Until the last two decades, gas and electricity were provided by state owned companies and consumers had no choice as to who supplied their fuel. However, since privatisation of utility providers in the late 1980s/early 1990s, there are now a wide number of companies that compete to supply fuel to households. Clearly, in this market driven environment, each provider wants to retain and attract as many customers as possible.
As a result of this, all companies offer certain promotions, such as inducements for switching providers and fixed rate periods, where the price of fuel will be kept at the same price for that specific period of time. Therefore, at a time when fuel is set to rise for the foreseeable future, it makes sense to choose a fixed rate to ensure you are not stung by further increases.
Of course, companies want to maximise their profits, so if you stay with that provider after the fixed rate ends, you will see your regular bills rocket. Despite this, many customers do not change their providers and as a result are losing out by so much that it negates any gain made from economies elsewhere.
Although the actual amount of any savings will depend on the size of household and their fuel usage behaviour, it is routinely estimated that an “average” home could save more than £300 just by switching electricity provider, which is around a quarter of its annual fuel bill.
In addition, analysis shows that consumers are much more likely to switch their gas provider than they are to consider changing the company that supplies their electricity. This is strange given that it does not involve any extra effort to do so and also because it is far more effective and less time consuming than many other economy measures that consumers are now taking to reduce bills.