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Published on 20 October 2014 10:00 AM

Consumers are being urged to shop around for the best energy deals during the Consumer Council’s ‘Energy Switching Week’, which runs from Monday 20 October to Friday 24 October.

All Northern Ireland electricity customers, and natural gas customers in Greater Belfast and Larne have a choice of supplier and there are around 270 home heating oil suppliers in the region.

However, switching levels remain low in Northern Ireland with only 28 per cent of electricity customers and 20 per cent of natural gas customers having made the switch and a staggering 68 per cent of customers always buy from the same home heating oil supplier.

This week long initiative is designed to help consumers develop their skills and confidence to enable them to switch energy supplier and get the best deal on cost and service.

Speaking about the week, Richard Williams, Head of Energy at the Consumer Council said “As we approach the winter months, there is the increasing need to heat and light our homes. With energy costs the top concern for Northern Ireland consumers there has never been a better time to shop around and get the best deal available on cost and service. Switching can make a real difference in reducing household bills – currently up to £158 a year for the average electricity customer.

“However, even those who do not want to change supplier can still make savings. You could be on the best tariff with the cheapest supplier but still a simple change in how you pay and whether you get your bill posted out or online could save you money.”

Richard concluded “We have done all the hard work for consumers by producing electricity and gas price comparison tables and undertaking a weekly home heating oil price survey, which are all available on our website. We have also updated our popular ‘Switch On’ guides to help consumers manage their energy bills.”

For more information on switching or to receive a copy of the ‘Switch On’ guides visit the Consumer Council website, call 0800 121 6022 or follow them on Facebook and Twitter @ConsumerCouncil.

For more information: Call Age NI Advice: 0808 808 7575