Make big savings by taking control of your heating
Published on 20 October 2014 12:01 AM
Households could save up to £75 a year if they take control of their heating.
Big Energy Saving Week - a joint campaign between the Energy Saving Trust, Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) and Citizens Advice - launches today.
The campaign aims to help households save money on their energy bills by offering free advice during the week over the phone, online and at local events across the UK.
Findings reveal 74% of Brits are still worried about their energy bills, but households could save up to £75 a year if they take control of their heating.
The campaign is encouraging households to take practical steps to cut their bills by checking they are on the best deal, switching tariff or supplier and taking up energy-saving actions, such as using their heating controls in the correct way.
The campaign has produced a heating myth-buster to raise awareness of the different ways households are unnecessarily losing money.
Findings show 52% of households misuse energy by turning up their thermostat when it's cold, even though a home shouldn't need this because the thermostat is there to maintain the temperature, whatever the weather.
Over a third of households will turn up their room thermostat when they want to heat their room more quickly. However, this will not heat the room faster; it only heats the home to a warmer temperature.
As many as 38% think it's more efficient to leave their heating turned on constantly at a low temperature, instead of turning it on and off when needed. However, this means the homes are heated when no one is there and too cold when people are at home.
Nearly a third will leave their water heating all the time to make sure they never run out of hot water, but this could use far more energy than is necessary.
Finally, only 38% of people with electric storage heaters fully understand how they work. This means households with electric heating could be paying through the nose by not taking advantage of the cheaper night rate electricity.
Switching energy suppliers
The Energy Saving Trust finds that many households are still not regularly switching their energy supplier, even though first-time switchers could potentially save up to £200.
Only a quarter of bill payers say they have changed in the last year. This is despite switching being easier than many people think.
Older people are less likely to consider changing their supplier; 60% of over 55s claim they are unlikely to switch, compared to 42% of those under 35.
Philip Sellwood, Chief Executive of Energy Saving Trust, said: ‘Rightfully, millions of householders are confused by their heating controls because, let's be honest, it is a bit of a minefield.
‘There are plenty of myths out there and it's no wonder people aren't getting it right. We are urging customers to learn about the myths, check their tariff, switch suppliers and insulate their homes.'
Gillian Guy, Chief Executive of Citizens Advice, said: ‘Every day, Citizens Advice helps people who are struggling to meet the cost of their energy bills. 80,000 people a year come to us for help with fuel debts.
‘With prices up a third since 2010, it's more important than ever that people know what they can do to keep their fuel bills down and what help is available. That's why we're running events up and down the country to help people make sure they are not paying a penny more than they have to.'
Energy and Climate Change Secretary Ed Davey said: ‘The easiest way to cut energy bills fast is to shop around for the cheapest energy deal and switch suppliers.
‘Thanks to government action to reform the energy market the number of independent suppliers has almost trebled since 2010 - encouraging greater competition which helps drive down prices.
‘We're also making it easier and quicker for people to switch, and the major energy suppliers have confirmed that switching times will halve by the end of this year to just two and a half weeks.'
Get more help with cutting your heating cost
Age UK offers information and advice on saving money on your energy bills.
People can also get help and advice by calling Energy Saving Advice Service on 0300 123 1234 or visiting the Energy Saving Trust website.
More information about the campaign can be found on the Big Energy Saving Week website.