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Tackling your debts

Take action now for energy bill rises this winter

Posted 31 October 2012 by Sarah Symons

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Debt Advisory Centre offers some advice to people concerned about energy price rises.

Many people only really begin sticking to a budget when times are hard and money is tight. However, budgeting in advance for events that haven't happened yet can be a good way to safeguard yourself from financial hardship.


We want to warn customers that energy bill rises are coming, and it's important to start budgeting for price rises, right now.

Why you need to think about the future

Only one of the 'big six' energy providers - E.ON - hasn't announced a price rise yet, and it's widely expected to in January.


With the price rises announced so far above inflation (currently 2.2%), many households could struggle to cope. A uSwitch study in May this year revealed that typical household energy bills had increased by a worrying 140% since 2004. By comparison, household incomes have grown by just 20% over the same period.


Many people have already said that energy price rises are the biggest threat to their financial stability over the next 12 months, according to September's Household Economic Activity Tracker (HEAT), from YouGov. It seems people are more concerned about energy bills than taxes, inflation, or unemployment.


So it's particularly important that households plan ahead and take these upcoming price rises into account when they're drawing up a budget for the winter. This can help them cope with price rises without taking on debt that that they could struggle to repay later on.

Advice from Debt Advisory Centre

You could potentially cut the size of your monthly energy bills by:

  • signing up for Direct Debits with your energy provider,
  • signing up for a 'dual-fuel' tariff (so your electricity and gas come from the same supplier),
  • asking your supplier about different packages or tariffs for a better deal,
  • shopping around to see if another energy supplier could you offer a better deal.

You could become more energy efficient to bring down the cost of your heating and lighting by:

  • turning off radiators and lights in rooms that you're not using,
  • turning your thermostat down by one degree to lower energy use; it shouldn't make a massive impact on your comfort,
  • fixing leaking taps, or leaking showers, especially if hot water is escaping.

The measures we've described here could help you save money and hopefully minimise the impact of any fuel bill rises. Of course, the sooner you take action, the better - you might find one of these free guides useful.

by Sarah Symons

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To find out more about managing your money and getting free debt advice, visit Money Advice Service, an independent service set up to help people manage their money.