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Topical Utilities water and energy ways to save money

Energy prices are up – 10 ways to keep bills down

We all know that energy prices are rising significantly due to a variety of reasons. So, how can we reduce our energy costs? There are a number of things we can do, ranging from smaller changes that add up to a bigger saving, to more substantial savings.

Energy crisis – what you need to know why prices are going up and what to do if you think your provider will go bust or if it has.

Gas flame lon stove

10 Top Tips for saving on energy costs

1) I usually advise regularly switching providers, How to take charge of your energy bills. But at the moment there is currently too much turmoil in the sector to be sure that you are getting the best deal. Wait until things have settled down. It is also possible that you may lock yourself into a deal and the price of wholesale gas will come down. Once things have settled and it doesn’t appear like any more providers are going under and comparison sites have offers available again, then start to look. Wait to switch then check cashback deals and going direct before you switch. More in the link above.

2) My Mum has stopped using the electric blanket on her bed and gone back to using a hot wot water bottle! This saves loads! Although an electric blanket can be used in a different way. “As well as wearing warmer clothes, consider an electric fleece blanket. This will keep your body warm and is much cheaper than having an electric heater on trying to heat a room. Plus it’s portable so you can take it with to the rooms you need it that may not be heated”, says Adam Stein of MoneySavvyDaddy.

3) If you have a well insulated house keep it at a constant temperature rather than turning the heating on and off or setting specific times for it to come on. It takes a lot more energy to heat up a cold house with cold walls than it does to keep it at a constant low temperature says Emma Maslin from Money Whisperer.

4) Buying some items can save you money in the long run. For example, consider purchasing an Energy Monitor.* This will measure how much power items are using. So you can check just how much power having your microwave or DVD player on standby really is using! It’s a lot, so don’t leave appliances on standby. And Hayley Muncey from MissManyPennies says “Switch to LED lightbulbs – don’t be put off by the upfront cost, the long term savings are significant and they are just as bright!”

 

5) Naomi Willis head shotThere are 50 ideas for saving on energy costs at the Skint Dad Editor, Naomi Willis, says that one of her top tips is simple but effective. “Draft proof everywhere from your cat flap, keyhole, letterbox, chimney, doors, windows. You could save around £50 a year!” On a similar note, Helen Nuttall from BudgetingIsAChallenge, suggests putting a thick curtain in front of your front door, as doors can let out so much heat.

6) Will Pointing from GreatDcom says that washing your clothes on a cooler setting (30-40 centigrade) can be a great saver. “90% of the energy cost of a washing machine is heating up the water!”

7) There are a number of things you can do regarding heating to keep your costs down. HouseholdMoney blogger, Peter Chatfield, says “If there’s a room in your house that you rarely use, turn down the radiator and keep the door closed.”

8) Halimah Omogiafo at Koody says that turning down your thermostat by just one degree could save you up to £80 a year. This was the latest figure provided by USwitch in October 2020. Bearing in mind prices continue to rise this will now increase.

9) “Turn your water and heating settings to ‘ECO’ on the boiler. Eco-Mode uses less energy than a standard 1-5 setting. Saving energy and therefore money as it’s cheaper to run your boiler”, advises Claire Roach of MoneySavingCentral

10) Sara Williams Debt camel guest post on The Complaining CowSara Wiliams from DebtCamel advises that energy bills are “priority debts”. This means that they must be paid even if that leaves you with little or nothing to pay towards credit cards and unsecured loans. “Your local Citizens Advice Bureau can help you work out how much to offer each of your debts, or explain if a debt relief order could help you – that would clear your energy debts.”

You can read more about “priority debts” following this link on the Citizens Advice website.

 

 

Further help

Electricity pylon Everything you need to know to complain about energy problems

 

More on energy All you need to know to make a complaint about energy

 

 

 

 

How to sort out gas and electricity problems without draining your energy: 20 tips from our Consumer Fightback column – lots of information in my This Is Money column

Help with your complaints

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If you need help with complaining effectively and making sure you are never fobbed off. GET THE BOOK! How To Complain: The ESSENTIAL Consumer Guide to Getting REFUNDS, Redress and RESULTS!

 

 

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101 Habits of an Effective Complainer to help you become more skilled and assertive when making complaints

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Latest News water and energy

Your rights if your water supply has been interrupted

Water supply and your consumer rights

How to complain about your water

Water companies are regulated by Ofwat. Every company must follow the Guaranteed Standards Scheme which relates to compensation in the event of service failure.washing potatoes under running tap

However, the standards do not apply in certain situations, including extreme weather. But all is not lost!

Criticism of water companies

In many areas of the country thousands of people were left without water after burst and leaking pipes. The Financial Times reported that industry experts were critical of the water companies.

“For water mains to be affected, the frost needs to penetrate 600mm or 2ft under ground and we haven’t had that degree of penetration so I don’t believe them. Is it because they haven’t upgraded the pipes as they say they do?” asked Roland Gilmore of Thames Blue Green Economy, a lobby group concerned with improving London’s water-related environmental problems.”

“Rachel Fletcher, Ofwat’s new chief executive, said: “While the recent severe weather conditions have undoubtedly had an impact on pipes and infrastructure, water companies have been warned time and again that they need to be better at planning ahead to deal with these sorts these situations, including proactively communicating with customers when they anticipate issues.””

Sadiq Khan, the mayor of London also condemned Thames Water saying that the weather should not have caused these problems. Given this criticism, it is worth complaining and trying to claim compensation if you were without water.

running water

What you can claim when your water supply has been cut off

Normally, water companies should provide a minimum of 48 hours’ notice of any interruption to supply and provide details of when it will be restored. If it does not or does not restore supply by the specified time then you are usually entitled to £20 compensation and a further £20 if you don’t receive the first £20 within 28 days. In cases where an emergency such as a burst pipe has cased interruption the company must restore the water within 12 hours although this rises to 48 if it is a strategic main pipe. The company must tell consumers as soon as possible regarding where an alternative water supply can be obtained, when it plans to restore the supply and a telephone number for more information.

If the supply is not restored by the time the company says it will be, compensation is due. £20 for the first 24 hours and £10 for each further 24 hour period the supply remains unrestored. If the interruption lasts more than 12 hours, the company should provide an alternative supply. For example, bottled water or tankers in the street. (Known as bowsers).

South East Water complaints

I was on BBC Radio Kent this morning (06 March 2018) talking water, energy and rail rights in relation to the extreme weather. Douglas Whitfield the Head of Operations at South East Water was on answering questions. When asked if SE Water would be compensating customers he said that they would be writing to all to all customers. Pushed again he repeated himself and pushed again on whether this would definitely include compensation he laughed and said “Maybe”. So take from that what you will. Given the amount these companies pay their shareholders they can afford to compensate you!

How you should complain about your water supply

Follow the Top 20 Tips How to Complain to make your complaint effective. You can write to the CEO. S/he will not respond personally but the matter will be taken more seriously and escalated above the customer services. Contact details for CEOs can be found at ceoemail.com.

Taking your complaint further

The standards clearly state that the scheme does not affect any legal rights to compensation that customer may have.

If you are not satisfied with your water company’s response you can take the matter to the Consumer Council for Water and ultimately the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman. In Scotland the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman and in Northern Ireland the Consumer Council.

Related utilities and weather complaints 

Your rights with weather-related energy problems on electricity pylonFreezing energy problems? Your rights all you need to know all you need to know about your rights with weather related issues and your energy supply.snow on train track Left out in the cold by a rail company - your rights

Left out in the cold by a rail company? Your rights all the information you need to complain about delays and cancellations regarding your rail travel.

 

See Everything You Need to Know About Your Water Supply for even more on your water supply

How to Complain: The Essential Consumer Guide to Getting Refunds, Redress and Results!

 

GET THE BOOK! How To Complain: The ESSENTIAL Consumer Guide to Getting REFUNDS, Redress and RESULTS! for lots of information, advice, consumer laws and rights, tips and template letters.

 

 

 

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Want to get better at complaining? See 101 Habits of an Effective Complainer

 

 

 

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Templates for complaining about utilities