Do you consider yourself to be energy efficient? When it comes to heating your home, powering your wheelchair or scooter, or making a cup of tea, you probably try to save energy where you can. Yet statistics – and energy bills – suggest that we could all be making more savings.
According to the industry regulator Ofgem, 54% of UK homes are on poor value tariffs and paying more than they should for the energy each year. In many cases, customers could be overpaying by around £300 each year.
Nobody likes to pay more than they should, particularly not where their energy bills are concerned and particularly when charging devices like powered wheelchairs or mobility scooters is an essential part of everyday life. Happily, by making a series of simple changes to how you consume, it can be easy to bring your energy bills right down.
1. Ask about the Warm Home Discount
The Warm Home Discount Scheme takes £140 off your winter electricity bill each year for the period between September and March for eligible customers. If you qualify for this, you can still select the cheapest energy tariff to run alongside the Warm Home Discount and, if you’re eligible for them, it won’t affect your Cold Weather Payment or Winter Fuel Payment.
To find out if you qualify, contact your energy supplier, call the Warm Home Discount scheme on 0845 603 9439 or visit www.gov.uk for more information
2. Consider switching energy meters
Unlike pay-as-you-go style prepayment meters, credit meters charge you for the energy you have used in the preceding month or quarter, usually via direct debit. While it’s possible to switch from one prepayment meter to another if you find a better tariff, by far the best deals and most competitive tariffs are usually offered to customers using credit meters who pay for their energy monthly or quarterly.
You’ll first need to contact your energy supplier to find out whether you’ll be eligible to switch to a credit meter, but be aware that energy suppliers are aiming to install smart meters in every home in Great Britain by the end of 2020. Smart meters will replace older energy meters, including prepayment meters.
3. Consider switching energy suppliers
Perhaps the most effective way of reducing your energy bills is to switch your energy supplier or at least change the tariff you’re on with them. This may sound complicated—which is exactly what puts many people off exploring this option—but it’s never been quicker or easier.
However, before you even contemplate making a switch, contact your existing supplier to find out if they can offer you a better deal than you are currently on – as they say, if you don’t ask, you don’t get.
If you decide to switch suppliers, take some time to compare your options. To do that you’ll need to provide two key details: your energy consumption and how much you are currently paying. Both will be laid out on your most recent bill or annual statement. You can call your energy company to ask if you don’t have this information to hand.
Once you have the details, compare your options using an accredited energy comparison website or the Citizens Advice comparison tool which will move you through the process step by step. When you’ve found the best deal for you, contact that provider and they will set up the switch under the terms of the Energy Switch Guarantee. You’ll have 14 days to change your mind about switching and should have transferred to your new provider within 21 days.
4. Make Small Changes
With a few very simple lifestyle changes, the Energy Saving Trust believes we can all become significantly more energy efficient and save significantly on our energy bills. Smart Meters can be an effective way of keeping a closer eye on your energy consumption, tracking energy usage in real time and displaying it on an easy-to-read screen.
But a series of very simple changes can see your bills dramatically change. These include turning electrical appliances off, rather than leaving them on standby, washing clothes at 30 degrees instead of 40, descaling your kettle and replacing traditional light bulbs with LED bulbs.
Visit the Motability Scheme’s scooter and powered wheelchair customer area for tips and information on getting the most out of your product.