Make checking your energy bills this week’s goal
After a weekend of watching the Royal wedding and the FA Cup final it is now time to look at something more basic – your energy bills.
That’s the advice from green energy expert Ron Fox who said many of the big companies will be raising their prices over the next few months.
Four million homes with British Gas will see costs increase by 5.5 per cent, or an average of £60 a year, next Tuesday (May 29, 2018) for those paying by direct debit and by up to £85 a year if you use cash or cards.
The company blamed the Government for the rise, citing rising subsidies for green energy projects and the costs of installing smart meters as well as wholesale gas and electricity prices going up.
On June 7, 2018, more than three million customers with EDF will see bigger bills. Worst hit will be 200,000 of those customers who buy both gas and electricity from the company and pay by cash or cheque resulting in average bills increasing by 2.3 per cent or £28 to £1,248 a year.
Ten days later on June 17 Npower is putting up its bills by an average of 5.3 per cent for its dual fuel customers which represents an annual bill hike of £64 for more than a million customers. Its operating profits went up by 26 per cent to £38 million in the first three months of this year.
“Customers must shop around and make sure they are getting the most competitive price for their energy,” said Ron, of Noreus Ltd on the University of Keele Science and Innovation Park (www.noreus.co.uk).
He said firstly people should enter the tariff and energy usage from their most recent bill on a price comparison website which will suggest the cheapest supplier.
But he warned that the lowest price may not always be the best after research by the consumer charity Citizens Advice found that the bottom 15 places for the worst customer service all went to small companies.
Ron added: “Beware of companies who ask you to pay up front for a better deal, they may not have a big enough cash reserve. Secondly, if this provider has a poor customer service record it may be struggling with rapid expansion. Finally, make sure the company gives both value for money and has a good trading record.
“If people are happy then they can organise the switch online and it should be completed within weeks with no interruption to supply.”
Already more and more people are switching suppliers. Since the beginning of this year 350,000 of British Gas’s 17 million customers have left after the company put up household bills by 22 per cent, despite an 11 per cent rise in profits.
Meanwhile, for those looking for even more freedom from rising costs, Ron recommends looking at renewable alternatives such as rooftop solar photovoltaic (PV) panels, which change energy from the sun into domestic electricity, and air source heat pumps, which convert heat from the atmosphere into power for the home.
For help and advice contact Ron Fox on 0845 474 6641.