Fuel prices, gas, electricity and even petrol have all risen in the last few years. Consumers are increasingly looking for ways to save money as they often cannot afford to run their heating or their cars.

This comes on top of year-on-year billion pound profit reports from the major companies and it doesn’t matter where in the country you live, we are all suffering he same fate. Forget the so called North – South divide, when it comes to fuel prices the cost of essential services is ridiculously high everywhere.

Petrol and Diesel

Unless you are living in Venezuela, where a litre of petrol costs just 8p, the lowest of any country in the world, you will be feeling the pinch of rising petrol prices. Even in the Channel Islands, where petrol prices have been about 20% cheaper than the mainland UK, are now seeing the prices at the pumps rising steadily. However, they still remain the cheapest place in the UK to buy petrol.

One of the dearest places to buy petrol in the UK is Northern Ireland, so much so there have been calls from Stormont for the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) to visit to assess the pricing. Those areas of the country that are not easily accessible such as the highlands of Scotland or the Shetlands and Orkney Islands also tend to have very high petrol pricing.

The rest of the UK, Scotland, Wales and England have very similar pricing. Pricing in London is slightly more expensive but only by a penny or two, not enough to make a marked difference when refuelling. Each forecourt has different pricing and can vary greatly from one to another so shop around in your local area to get the best price. Average prices however, remain steady right across the UK.

Gas and Electricity

The cost of domestic utilities for many people is becoming a major issue.  Those o
n a tight budget, such as the elderly on pensions or large families with only one source of income are finding it more difficult to heat and light their home month on month.

Now winter is coming, heating and lighting is all that more important and each winter there are news reports of elderly people living alone found having succumbed to the effects of hypothermia, all because they can’t afford to pay their bills. The latest reported price hikes are sure to put added pressure on those who are already vulnerable.   

The Post Code Lottery

You might expect the cost of domestic utilities to be the same no matter where you live. This is not the case. Each company offers different prices in different areas. The companies say these charges reflect different distribution costs, but this seems unlikely when the North West of England pays higher electricity and gas prices than London. Basically every company charges as much as customers will pay.

In any company’s traditional area it will charge more than it charges in areas where it is trying to increase its presence. NPower charges its Yorkshire customers around £100 a year more than it charges its customers in the South East of England. The company can do this because of customer inertial and unwillingness to change energy suppliers.

Shop Around

It is essential to find out about tariffs from all the energy companies. The switching sites help to a limited extent but the only way to find out how much you can really save is to have your electricity and gas consumption to hand and to work out what your annual bill would be with each company.