MILLIONS of households face an increase on their energy bills this winter.
Watchdog Ofgem yesterday announced the price cap will rise by £139 on October 1.
That means 11 million people will see a hike of their bills – but you can save hundreds of pounds a year right now.
From switching suppliers to energy-saving tricks and even ways to claim FREE Government cash, Tara Evans explains how.
Free cash help
IF you are on a low income or receiving benefits, you could be eligible for the warm home discount, which gives you £140 off bills during winter months.
Additionally, those on certain benefits can claim the £25 cold weather payment when the temperature drops below zero for seven days.
The winter fuel payment is an annual tax-free payment of between £100 and £300 to help those over pension credit age with winter heating costs.
Visit gov.uk for more details.
Get a new boiler
REPLACING an old, inefficient boiler with an energy-efficient one can save you £300 a year, according to Confused.com.
That’s if you go from a G-rated boiler to an A-rated one.
Jack Cox from Confused.com said: “Investing in a new boiler may be pricey but it can make the biggest difference to your home, as heating accounts for roughly 55 per cent of your energy bills.”
Buy energy efficient appliances
YOU could cut your bills when it comes to replacing appliances by choosing the most energy efficient model.
It could save you £48 a year on using a washing machine, £96 a year for a tumble dryer and £69 a year for a fridge freezer, according to Which?.
Look out for top A++ energy efficiency ratings when you’re buying.
Turn down heating
WHACKING up the heating when it turns chilly can be tempting – but just a tiny turn of the dial could add a considerable amount to your energy bills.
Gareth Kloet, a director at GoCompare, explained: “For every degree that you turn down the temperature on your thermostat, you’ll save money.
“A few degrees could save you over £60 a year.”
NOW is the time to switch to avoid being hit by the price rise.
The difference between the cheapest fixed deal on the market and the new price cap is £241, according to Uswitch.com.
Use a comparison site to compare deals and find the best one for you, as they vary based on your postcode.
Justina Miltienyte, from Uswitch.com, said: “Act now to avoid being hit by this price rise and to get protection from future market volatility.
“It takes just minutes to check what deals are available and switch to a cheaper fixed tariff.”
If you go for a fixed tariff you will be protected against further price rises – but you might lose out if they fall and you could be billed if you want to leave early.
Variable tariffs mean your energy firm could hike its prices at any time.
Turn off your gadgets
LEAVING your TV on standby or your phone plugged in when it is fully charged could be adding unnecessary costs to your energy bills.
Gareth Kloet, a director at GoCompare, said: “It might not be practical to turn off all appliances, but if you turn off your laptop or any devices that are left on standby you could save £35 a year.”
Replace light bulbs
SWITCH to energy-saving light bulbs and save £30 a year, according to the Energy Saving Trust.
Over its lifetime, a new-style bulb could cut around £180 from energy bills compared to the old type – and they last longer.
Ben Gallizzi, energy expert at uSwitch.com, said: “LED light bulbs come with lots of benefits, not least the fact that they could help save over a million tonnes of CO2 while also reducing energy bills.”
Draught proof your home
THE colder the home, the more you are going to use your heating.
Feel for draughts by doors and windows, then use draught excluder kits to plug them.
It could chop £20 a year off bills, according to Energyhelpline.com.
The website’s Tom Lyon said: “Warm air escaping through poorly insulated doors and windows is responsible for nearly 40 per cent of all heat being lost from our homes.”
Ditch paper bills
GETTING your bills online via email can save you between £40 to £45 a year, according to MoneySuperMarket.com.
You can also save costs by paying by direct debit.
Stephen Murray, from MoneySuper Market, said: “It’s easier and cheaper because most suppliers offer a discount to customers who pay this way.”