Tuesday, June 14, 2011

How Energy Prices are Hitting Your Household

With the recent announcements from energy companies of substantial price rises and other energy providers predicted to follow suit, many households will find it a struggle to pay the bills this winter. It is hardly surprising that many households are looking for ways to reduce their bills, economise in other areas of expenditure or even using credit cards or trying to find the cheapest loans to help make the payments. However, before you commit to the repayment terms of even the cheapest loans, there are a few other avenues to investigate first with out having to change supplier. Cut your energy use – turn the thermostat down a degree or two, close curtains in the evenings to keep heat in, reduce draughts around doors and only heat the rooms you use most frequently. Know your appliances. A computer, even in sleep mode uses up to 75% of its energy. Switch off lights and don't leave electrical items on standby, as they will continue to use energy. Other simple changes, such as not over filling the kettle or setting the washing machine to a lower temperature, can all have an impact on your energy consumption. Contact your energy supplier and find out if you are on the cheapest tariff with them. If not, request that you are changed to the cheaper price. The Carbon Emissions Reduction Target Scheme has funds to help households become more energy efficient; if you are eligible, your current supplier will be able to assist you with this. If you don't think you are being offered the best prices from your current supplier then you may want to switch to a different company and there are ways to get a better deal with them. Energy companies frequently offer generous discounts for a dual fuel tariff. This means you will be getting your gas and electricity from the same supplier. If you have not already done so, set up a monthly direct debit payment to the energy supplier. A fixed amount each month helps spread the costs and avoids an unexpectedly large bill in the winter months and some companies will offer discounts for customers using this payment method. Online plans have also been the most competitive on price for some time and some customers have been rewarded with savings of up to £200 from their standard plan when they have switched to online. You can also get fixed energy prices, which may offer you some peace of mind with the current price rises. However, these usually carry some form of penalty if you wish to leave the plan and the terms should be considered carefully before you sign the agreements. Inflation and price rises are having a huge impact on household budgets up and down the country and some small changes can save some money. Shopping around for the best prices on your purchases from groceries to utilities is vital. Also important is searching for the best interest rates on credit cards and looking for the cheapest loans in order to be prepared for any more changes to the economy. With a little time and effort, you can really make changes for the better and save yourself a substantial amount of money.

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