Consumers could slash their energy bills this winter by following some simple advice before the cold weather sets in, according to The Energy Advice Line.
Julian Morgan, managing director of the price comparison, switching and advice service for energy users, said many consumers were worried about how they would afford to heat their homes and workplaces once the mild weather was finished.
"Households and business energy users can avoid being caught out by unaffordable bills this winter by planning ahead," Mr Morgan said.
"The average household gas and electricity bill now stands at £1350 a year, and prices are continuing to rise, so it's very much worth making an effort to bring those bills down.
"Many consumers assume that because they have no control over retail energy prices, they have no control over their bills, but they do.
"Following some or all of the tips below can help all consumers to cut their energy bills significantly."
- Make sure you are taking advantage of all available discounts offered by energy suppliers. This includes savings for paying by direct debit, buying both gas and electricity from the same supplier, and receiving bills electronically rather than on paper.
- If you're on a fixed-term contract, make sure you know when the discount ends so that you can switch suppliers in time. Forgetting to switch before the contract ends means you could be transferred to a tariff that's more expensive than those available elsewhere.
- Switch to a cheaper deal. If you haven't run a check on energy prices in the past few months, now is the time to do so. Reputable and independent services like the Energy Advice Line can help you do this quickly and easily.
- Ensure you have considered switching to a smaller independent supplier that often offer highly competitive deals and customer service in order to compete with the Big Six.
- According to the Energy Saving Trust, turning your home and/or business thermostat down by just one degree can cut your energy bill by up to 10% per year. Smart thermostats are also available that give you greater control over your heating system.
- Don't leave appliances on standby: simply switching off unused gadgets can save households and businesses lots of money all year round.
- Investigate smart technology. Most energy companies are offering free smart meters so you can monitor your energy consumption in real time. This is often a reality-check for consumers, who use the information to cut back on using energy unnecessarily.
The Energy Advice Line is one of the UK's leading price comparison and switching services for business and domestic energy customers. It is also an advocate for energy market reform and has campaigned for a better deal for energy users, including calling for a ban on cold calling and changes to regulations to make it easier for all consumers to switch suppliers.
The service is completely independent and free. Consumers can quickly and simply search the market for the best available energy deals from an extensive panel of small and large energy suppliers. The service also offers a free advice line for business energy customers.