AS temperatures drop across the UK and with budgets stretched further than ever at the moment, we explain how to cut your energy bills.
Millions of Brits are expected to ration their energy usage this winter because they are worried about paying bills, according to Comparethemarket.com.
With more people working from home this could add £80 more to bills.
Follow our step-by-step to lowering costs.
Switch to a cheaper tariff
If you’ve never switched before then you could save £400 a year. Use websites like Moneysupermarket.com, USwitch.com and EnergyHelpline to compare tariffs.
The cheapest dual fuel fixed tariff is from Utility Point, costing £831 on average a year.
While the cheapest variable is from small supplier Green, costing £20 more a year.
Don’t forget to factor in customer service ratings and any early exit fees into your decision when switching.
Remember to set a reminder when your tariff ends so you can switch to a new deal.
Use an auto switching website
Websites like Look After My Bills and Switchd will automatically move you onto a cheaper energy deal.
Some of them don’t show deals for ALL suppliers so it’s worth doing a comparison every few months to make sure you’re not missing out on a good deal.
But if you’re likely to forget to switch, these are an easy way to make sure you’re keeping your costs low.
Watch out as some of them will charge a fee and you need to make sure this doesn’t wipe out any savings.
Claim back credit from your energy supplier
If you pay your energy by direct debit then you might end up being in credit to your supplier - and that means they owe you money.
It’s probably not worth claiming back money if you’ll need extra to pay your bills in winter.
But for example, if your account shows you are £70 in credit after paying your bill and your direct debit is only £40 a month, you could ask for a £30 refund.
Read more about how to claim using this Citizens Advice guide.
Can you claim extra cash?
You can claim extra cash through government-funded schemes like the Winter Fuel Payment, the Warm Home Discount and the Cold Weather Payment.
If you were born on or before October 5, 1954, you can claim the Winter Fuel Payment, an annual one-off payment between £100 and £300 to help you pay for your heating bills.
This is usually paid to you automatically by the government from November to January.
Read more about the Winter Fuel Payment and whether you’re eligible on this government guide.
There’s also the Cold Weather Payment, which you can claim if you’re receiving certain benefits or Support for Mortgage Interest.
If the temperature in your area is recorded, or forecast to be, zero degrees celsius or below for seven consecutive days between November 1 and March 31, you can get a Cold Weather Payment.
You’ll be paid £25 for each seven day period of cold weather.
Read more about this payment and check to see if you can get it in your area here.
Finally, you can get some extra cash with the Warm Home Discount Scheme if you receive the Guarantee Credit element of Pension Credit or you’re on a low income and meet your energy supplier’s criteria for the scheme.
This is a one-off £140 discount on your electricity bill, and in some cases on your gas bill, between September and March.
To find out more read the Government guide on the Warm Home Discount Scheme.
Use less energy
You could be wasting vast amounts of money on your energy bills but it only takes 20 minutes to check how you can reduce your spend.
Following some of these top tips can help you save hundreds of pounds on your energy bills.