Paying your energy bills
The information on a typical utility bill can be confusing and hard to decipher. If you are confused by terminology used on your energy bills don’t ignore it. Contact your energy provider to get a full explanation. Calling energy companies can sometimes be expensive so where possible manage your account online to get access to helpful information without the time on hold.
Submit meter readings as regularly as possible to ensure you only ever pay for the energy you use. Bills based on estimates can see you either over or under pay. While under paying can be tempting to ignore, this may leave you with a large catch-up bill to pay at a later date.
Another approach is to ask your energy supplier if you can have a smart meter installed at no cost. There shouldn’t be a charge to have a smart meter installed and doing so ensures meter readings are automatically sent to the supplier so your bills are accurate.
If you pay your utility bills by Direct Debit it is worth regularly checking your statements to keep track of how much you’re paying. If you don't think you're paying the correct amount, contact your energy supplier to ask for a breakdown of how your direct debit amount is calculated
Should I consider changing my energy supplier?
It is worth looking into changing your energy supplier if you have been with the same company for more than 2 years.
If you have changed recently see if you can make further savings paying by Direct Debit or switching to paperless billing if you have access to a computer and are happy to receive your bill by email. You may also be able to make savings by switching to dual fuel tariffs, where you buy your electricity and gas from one supplier.
When comparing new tariffs it’s important to carefully check the details as initial promotional tariffs may roll over into expensive ones. Tariffs can be fixed or rolling, like a mortgage, so spend time thinking about which option may be better for you.
While you are likely to be looking for the energy supplier that could save you the most money, be sure to check the company you choose has a help line that could offer you advice should you find yourself struggling with your bills, and find out what their policy is on arrears.
There are a number of organisations who offer free impartial advice on paying your energy bills.
If you are struggling to pay your bills you can contact this free phone service by calling 0800 336 699 for advice on maximising income and support for fuel related costs, as well as benefits entitlement checks and flexible payment options if in fuel debt.
National Housing Federation’s energy supply service
This free and impartial service from the National Housing Federation provides an easy way to switch energy provider both over the telephone or online. You will need your postcode and a current energy bill when you contact the team to get assistance. Call 0800 0014 706 or go to www.myhomeenergyswitch.org.uk for more information.
Citizens Advice consumer service
The Citizens Advice consumer service provides free, confidential and impartial advice on consumer issues. Visit www.citizensadvice.org.uk for more information.
Your energy supplier
All energy suppliers are obliged to offer vulnerable customers cheaper tariffs, called social tariffs. You may qualify for a social tariff if you are over 60, on a means tested benefit or a low income.
For advice on how you can save money on energy bills by being more energy efficient and reducing energy wasted visit our energy efficiency tips page.