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Since the start of the year, five ‘Big Six’ energy suppliers (EDF, Npower, E.On, SSE, and Scottish Power) have announced steep increases of between 8-10% in their standard tariff, leaving millions of households in the UK paying around £100 more for their gas and electricity bills.

The various reasons cited for these price hikes include the weakening of the pound compared to the US Dollar, an increase in wholesale costs, and the expense of delivering the national smart meter rollout (a government policy that energy suppliers are required to deliver by 2020).

And although other large energy suppliers have yet to announce price rises of their own, it’s a safe bet that it’ll just a matter of time until all standard tariffs go up. In the past few months we have noted an average increase of 10p per day on the standing charges of some energy suppliers, which will impact the poorest in society because it is charged regardless of much much energy is used. To compound matters, the Guardian recently reported that there are 77 fixed-price tariffs due to expire before the end of April, meaning thousands of UK households will automatically be moved onto an expensive standard tariff unless they take action.

This is why it is vitally important for people to switch, to make sure they are not paying over the odds on their energy bills. Last year, we collectively overpaid £2 billion too much to energy suppliers because 88% of us didn’t switch.

If someone is currently on a standard tariff, BHESCo would recommend that they sign up to a fixed tariff as soon as possible and lock in to a good price for 12 or 24 months. For households whose fixed tariff is due to expire soon, you can switch to a new fixed tariff up to 40 days in advance of your current contract ending, without having to pay an exit fee. Details of your tariff expiration date can be found on your bill.

There are various energy tariff comparison websites you can use, but BHESCo finds My Utility Genius the easiest.

If you would like free and reliable advice on finding the best energy tariff for your home, please contact BHESCo today:

phone: 0800 999 6671

email: bills@bhesco.co.uk

big energy saving NetworkFor the second year, BHESCo has been a champion for the Big Energy Saving Network, a national programme that aims to encourage people to save money on their energy bills by switching supplier or tariff.

It is important to review your energy tariff annually, comparing prices against the market to make sure that you’re not paying too much for your energy supply.  The idea is that by switching frequently, consumers can minimise the price they pay, forcing suppliers to keep prices low to retain their customers.

Unfortunately, the energy industry is plagued by inertia, and very few consumers exercise their right to switch annually, if indeed ever. Latest figures estimate that roughly 7 in 10 people are on an expensive standard tariff, paying on average £305 more than the cheapest tariffs available.

The goal of the Big Energy Saving Network is for Champions to go into their communities to engage consumers with their energy bills, demonstrating that there are many choices available and that great savings can be made by those who choose to switch.

As a BESN Champion, BHESCo was able to establish nearly 20 energy advice desks around the city, stretching all the way from Hangleton to Whitehawk and from Moulsecomb to the Lanes. Locations varied from universities to children’s centre’s, health surgeries to pubs, and even to the heart of the Council in Bartholomew House.

By the time the programme finished, we helped over one hundred people to save a combined total of £5,020 on their annual energy bills. In addition, we helped people to qualify for the Warm Home Discount, tackle debt to suppliers, and make their homes more energy efficient.

Being a part of the Big Energy Saving Network has given us a fantastic opportunity to get out into the community and meet the many wonderful people that make Brighton and Hove what it is. We are immensely thankful to every foodbank and community cafe that welcomed us through their doors, and we look forward to seeing all our new friends again when the next BESN starts in October 2016.

In the meantime, for impartial and expert advice on your energy bills, please email us at bills@bhesco.co.uk.

(clockwise from top left): at Hangleton Foodbank, at Hollingdean Community Café, at the Brighthelm, at Brighton Dome

(clockwise from top left): with the team at Hangleton Foodbank, a satisfied customer at Hollingdean Community Centre, giving advice at the Brighthelm, energy desk at International Womens Day at Brighton Dome

 


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