Home energy advice from Citizens Advice

Heat your home and save money

Are you having problems heating your house, or do you feel that you’re paying more than you should? South Oxfordshire Citizens Advice is urging people to take action, cut their bills by checking that they are on the best possible deal, switch tariff or supplier, or take up offers of help to insulate their homes.

You could benefit from savings of up to £320 a year from energy efficiency measures, an average of £100 by paying by direct debit, and up to £200 by shopping around.

Citizens Advice has published new energy advice information and links to comparison tools. Visit www.citizensadvice.org.uk/advisernet/consumer/energy/energy-supply to find out how you can benefit.

Citizens Advice has also issued eight money-saving tips:

  1. Check your bills carefully and read your meter regularly so you can check that you’re paying the right amount.
  2. Talk to your supplier if you think your bill is wrong or if you have problems paying. They will give you advice or talk you through repayment options.
  3. Make sure that you are on the cheapest tariff. Check with your supplier and use an accredited tariff-switching website to see who is offering the best deal. Most energy suppliers offer fixed price tariffs, i.e. the price of a unit of energy will stay the same for the length of the deal.
  4. If you use a pre-payment meter, remember that standing charges will be added daily, even when you aren’t using energy. Check how much these standing charges are and keep your meter topped up to avoid unexpected charges.
  5. If you use heating oil as your main fuel, buy before winter and see if there are any local oil-buying clubs you can join. A scheme covering many local villages is the Oxfordshire Rural Community Council’s Bulk Oil-Buying Scheme – visit www.oxon.rcc.org.uk
  6. Make your home energy-efficient. Insulate lofts and cavity walls, install double glazing or use thick curtains to keep the heat in. Get your boiler serviced or replaced to ensure that it is energy-efficient. There are schemes to help pay for this and Citizens Advice can tell you about them.
  7. Save money and energy – don’t leave appliances on standby. Fix leaking hot water taps and turn off the light when you leave a room.
  8. Do a home energy check – visit the Energy Saving Trust home energy check at www.hec.est.org.uk Use this check to get a full report with details of your home energy use and the savings you could make.

If money is tight, contact your local Citizens Advice. They can look into your situation and see whether you are getting all the benefits you’re entitled to, or if you can get help paying your bills. For further help, call Adviceline on 03444 111 444 or drop in to your nearest Citizens Advice. For locations and opening hours, see www. caox.org.uk