As mild December gives way to a colder, frostier new year, Citizens Advice Oxfordshire South and Vale is encouraging people to analyse their home energy spending and take steps to cut down on fuel wastage. The charity has these tips:
1. Check your bills carefully and make sure you’re on the cheapest tariff. Most energy suppliers offer fixed price tariffs, where the price of a unit of energy will remain the same for the length of the deal. Think about switching to a new supplier (for an energy prices comparison tool, go to https://energycompare.citizensadvice.org.uk). Citizens Advice has helped many people to switch successfully to a new energy supplier, so contact us to discuss your options.
2. Make your home energy-efficient. Insulate lofts and walls, double-glaze your windows and use thick curtains to keep heat in. Get your boiler serviced annually. Grants are available to help with insulation: call the Energy Saving Advice Service on 0300 123 1234, Monday to Friday 9 am to 8 pm.
3. Your central heating thermostat and your timer (or programmer) are your good friends and allies when it comes to saving money. Shave down the timings so that the boiler is only working when you need it. A thermostat temperature of 20 degrees is adequate for most homes.
4. Try an online Home Energy Check at www.energysavingtrust.org.uk/resources/tools-calculators
5. For those who qualify, various grants and discounts are available to help with bills: the Warm Home Discount https://www.gov.uk/the-warm-home-discount-scheme and the Winter Fuel Payment https://www.gov.uk/winter-fuel-payment
6. Sign on to the Priority Services Register if you’re of pensionable age, disabled or chronically sick. The scheme gets you extra energy services free of charge. Visit https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk for further information.
For more help and support, contact Citizens Advice in person or on Adviceline (03 444 111444). For locations of offices and opening hours see www.citizensadvice.org.uk/local/oxfordshire-south-vale