Energy bills are higher than ever, and they’re set to rise even further this winter. In this time of economic uncertainty, saving on electricity has become a priority for many families throughout the UK. But aside from keeping the lights off as much as possible, are there any other ways to save money the next time your energy bill arrives in the mail?
Fortunately, energy consumers have a lot more rights than they realize, and knowing what you’re entitled to can end up saving you a lot of money. Not surprisingly, most energy companies aren’t too forthcoming about what you’re entitled to. Knowing your rights—and standing up for them—could potentially save you hundreds of pounds. Below are six easy and little known ways you can save money on your next energy bill.
Use your cooling-off period
Many people switch energy providers because of pushy sales agents, only to realize later that what sounded like a great deal at the time is going to cost them more later on. Don’t panic! Everybody who switches energy companies in the UK has a cooling-off period whereby they can cancel their new tariff and return to their old one without incurring any penalties. The length of your cooling off period will depend on the terms of your contract, but you should have at least seven days to be able to change your mind, with most periods lasting for 14 days.
Non Consentual Switching
Many people have reported being switched from one energy provider to another without their consent, and often end up paying a higher tariff because of it. Just because the cooling off period has passed, you still have rights. Contact your energy provider, both your old one and your new one, immediately and let them know the situation. It is their responsibility to resolve the issue, not yours. If they are inflexible or try to penalize you with an exit penalty, consider reporting the issue to the ombudsman.
Get Compensated for Blackouts
You’re paying for your electricity, so if, for whatever reason, your energy provider fails to provide you with that electricity then you are entitled to compensation. For example, if you suffer from four or more blackouts that last at least three hours within a year, contact your energy provider for a £54 refund. Additionally, if your electricity is cut for more than 18 consecutive hours then you are entitled to receive £54, plus £27 for every 12 additional hours your electricity is out.
Research Cheaper Energy Suppliers
By law, your energy provider must provide you with 30 days’ notice of any price increase. If you find the new tariff is too high, and you think you can get a better price elsewhere, make sure you tell your provider you’re leaving. If you give notice within 15 days of their notifying you of their price increase, you cannot be penalized with any exit fee.
Entitlement to Free Home Insulation
Insulation can potentially save you hundreds of pounds a year, but the initial installation cost is out of reach for many. Fortunately, many energy suppliers will provide free or heavily discounted loft insulation for those with low incomes. Contact your energy supplier to find out if you qualify.
Missed Meter Reading Appointments
You shouldn’t have to waste time and money because your energy provider is failing to do its job properly. In the event of a meter reading, your provider must give you a two hour slot during which you can expect them to arrive. If they fail to show, be sure to contact them. You are entitled to a reimbursement of between £22-44.