Helping local families with energy bills
19th January 2012
Gas and electricity prices continue to be amongst the most pressing issues for many people in Halesowen and Rowley Regis.
At the start of the winter, I spoke in the House of Commons about the need for action to help vulnerable families with energy costs.
The new Warm Home Discount Scheme will support over 2million families, including more than 600,000 vulnerable pensioners, by providing a discount on electricity bills. This is on top of a permanent increase in the cold weather payment from £8.50 a week to £25 a week.
In October, David Cameron met with energy providers to demand action to cut energy bills. Since then, energy suppliers’ profit margins have been cut by £20 on an average dual fuel tariff and last week’s announcements of energy price cuts will reduce these margins further.
But there are simple things that we can do now to cut our energy bills.
Most people are not on the cheapest energy tariff for them.
Contact your gas and electricity providers to make sure that you are on the cheapest tariffs and payment methods available for the amount of fuel you use. Paying monthly by direct debit is, on average, £100 a year cheaper than paying by cheque.
Once you know what the best deal is that your current providers can offer, shop around. Use a Consumer Focus accredited switching website like ukpower.co.uk or uswitch.com to find out what else is on offer.
Elderly relatives and neighbours may not feel confident looking for a different supplier and so may appreciate your help in getting them a better deal.
Finally, make sure that you are not using more energy than you need.
Turning your thermostat down by 1 degree could cut your annual heating bill by £60 and switching lights and appliances off at the wall adds to the savings.
A lot of heat can be wasted by it escaping through the roof. Proper wall and loft insulation can save you £120 a year and all the main gas and electricity suppliers offer free or discounted insulation to all households – not just their own customers.
To help residents in Halesowen and Rowley Regis, I have put together a booklet, setting out what people can do to save money on their energy bills and details of help that might be available.
If you would like a copy of the booklet, please contact me by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or phone my office on 0121 550 6777.