Citizens urged to seek cheapest energy supplies

By on 24/10/2012 in Cllr McKay, News

Birmingham citizens are being urged to think about swapping their energy provider to save money by the city council's Cabinet Member for a Green, Safe and Smart city.

Cllr James McKay today issued the personal message, prompted by recent price rises from the national energy companies and in recognition of Big Energy Week (October 22-27).

He said: “Many people I speak to say that they worry about the price of fuel and struggle to heat their home. That is why I urge you to consider switching - finding the best deal for your energy through trusted advice services. Householders who switch can save hundreds of pounds on their annual bills and be more confident in keeping the home warm this winter.”

Cllr McKay’s comments came as Big Energy Week draws to a close. The week is a CAB backed campaign to encourage people to think about their fuel bills and take action to reduce their size. Big Energy Saving Week is all about letting householders know the things that can be done to cut energy bills down to size and help make them more affordable.

“Six in ten householders have never switched and three quarters are on old-fashioned and expensive standard plans.  In these times when every penny counts, and especially if you live on a fixed income such as a pension, the effort it takes to seek out the best deal for your heating and electric can be time well spent,” said Cllr McKay.

Lucy Darch, Director of Energy at uSwitch.com, added: “The average household energy bill today is an eyewatering £1,300 a year - £788 or 151 per cent higher than in 2004. The high cost of energy is now the number one household concern and we are seeing growing numbers of households rationing their energy use through the winter in order to keep a lid on the cost.

“This is why we welcome Cllr McKay's initiative. There is £300 difference between the cheapest and most expensive tariffs on the market - which is like cutting a quarter off your annual energy bill.

“And this saving isn't hard to get -  we help thousands of people a day to compare prices and to choose a better deal that suits their needs. Our service is free and impartial and you can visit us online at www.uswitch.com or via our contact centre on 0800 051 5493.  All you need is your current energy bill or annual statement and we’ll provide you with details of cheaper tariffs for you.”

Ends

Notes

1.    Context:
•    Difference between cheapest and most expensive tariffs on the market is as much as £300 a year.
•    In 2004 households were paying £522 a year on average for their energy - today they are spending £1,310 a year.
•    Average household income has increased by 20 per cent since 2004, but the average household energy bill has rocketed by 151 per cent.
•    Over eight in ten people (83 per cent) cut down or rationed their energy use last winter because of cost.
•    According to Ofgem; Six in ten have never switched and three quarters of households are on old-fashioned and expensive standard plans.
•    Biggest issue is that people aren't shopping around – they are sitting on old-fashioned and expensive tariffs, paying far more for their energy than they actually need to.
•    Just 15 per cent of households switch.

2.    For further information on Big Energy Week: http://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/index/aboutus/bigenergyweek.htm

3.    Many advice agencies and on-line organisations give fuel switching advice. The CAB state on their website that “there are lots of price comparison websites that can help you compare what's on offer. We recommend however that you use one that has been accredited with the Consumer Focus Confidence Code - this means that you know the information they are giving you is accurate and updated regularly.”

Accredited sites include:

www.confused.com
www.energyhelpline.com 0800 074 0745
www.fuelswitch.com
www.energylinx.co.uk 0800 849 7077
www.moneysupermarket.com 0845 345 1296
www.simplyswitch.com 0800 111 395
www.theenergyshop.com 0845 330 7247
www.ukpower.co.uk 0845 009 1780
www.unravelit.com 0800 279 4091
www.uswitch.com 0800 404 7908
www.whichswitch.co.uk 01992 822 867
www.beatthatquote.com 0845 652 1546

Media contacts
Kris Kowalewski, Birmingham City Council press office, on 0121 303 3621.
Lucy Darch, Director of Energy, uSwitch. Tel: 07900 676332

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