Hard times call for desperate measures or so they say. We are living in hard times when almost everything costs more. In fact many studies have shown that utility bills have consistently been on the rise and there seems to be no end to this. In these hard times one can do well to save the limited income that comes your way and spend it on things other than heating if you can.

Your utility bills are one of the areas where you can make some efforts in saving money. Utility bills are here to stay and the earlier you learn the art of managing them the better it will for you in the future.

However the utility companies do not make it easier for you. In fact they just confuse you the more by their many ‘offers’, ‘tariffs and other marketing strategies. The bottom line is that they are out to take out your money rather than let their competitors take it. Do not allow them to confuse you, take time to understand their charges and payment plans and compare different companies offering the same service.

Independent Advice

If possible contact a professional utility bill adviser who is not affiliated with any of the companies and seek expert opinion. This will enable you choose the most appropriate provider depending on where you live and your estimated usage. Many people find it hard to change providers once they get used to one. It is therefore important before settling fort any one of them, carry out due diligence and make an informed decision.

Most companies will also reward loyal customers with some special rates so it is not a bad idea to stick with one of them from the start. However, this should not be a reason for your provider to give you a raw deal. The same provider will have different tariffs that are mostly based on the usage of the service.

Knowing the tariffs and the applicable rates will be beneficial since one can switch to another tariff depending on the situation. For example some companies will offer tariffs where light users will be charged differently from heavy users.

An Energy Audit

If there is any reason to doubt the amounts stated on your utility bills, then you can an audit and try to establish if they are correct. There have been cases where some utility companies have been overcharging their customers on a consistent basis because their meters are wrongly calibrated.

This applies especially to heavy users such as businesses and industries. The audit can be carried out by you or a utility bill auditor. If any discrepancy is discovered contact the company and demand for a refund on the overcharge. If this persists for long, then lodge an official complaint with them and if they do not respond satisfactorily then switch to a better company.

Change Things Up

Heating and lighting are the basic services that we all need. During winter heating is absolutely essential but your heating system can consume more energy than is necessary due to obstructions and faults. Perform a manual check on the system to detect any problems. This can lead to savings of about 20% of the amount of energy you would otherwise use.

A well-functioning thermostat is a necessity. You can set it at the temperature where you feel comfortable wearing more than just a tee-shirt.

When it comes to saving on energy related costs, the single most important thing is to form good habits that will be useful in the long term. These habits will also be passed to other family members and collectively significant savings will occur.

Homeowners will save more on their utility bills than those living in apartments. This is due to the fact they are able to make all the necessary adjustments. They also feel more obliged to make improvements in their homes.

To avoid a situation where you are unable to pay your utility bills on time have some savings specifically for this reason. These will come in handy especially if you lose your normal income stream.

In conclusion, closely monitor your utility bills and if you notice a trend where the bills increase without any justifiable reason, investigate it to ascertain the reason