Summer energy eaters
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Date: 06 August, 2004

Switch and Give


'The quieter summer period is a better time to switch, so you will be on a cheaper rate for when your usage increases in winter.'

Keeping a check on energy consumption may not be a top priority for summer, but people should not be complacent about their energy consumption, says

Although during the summer we use less energy we can still be energy efficient. By being aware of the following summer energy-eaters, consumers can save more money for fun in the sun:

Tumble driers can add up to £15 a month onto bills, so take advantage of the sun and hang things out on the line.

An inefficient fridge and freezer can use up extra energy. Defrost regularly to keep them running efficiently. Also, let warm food cool down first and position the fridge or freezer away from cookers or heaters.

A bath uses five times more water than a shower, so cut down on soaks in the bath and relax in your garden instead.

Leaving electrical goods, such as the television or computer on standby at night can use as much electricity as having them on all day.

Each wash in the dishwasher costs 12 times as much as leaving the lights on for an hour, so use the quick or economy setting and if possible wait until you have a full load. The good news is, if used economically, this still works out cheaper than washing by hand.

Don't waste money turning the heating on when the sun goes down. Simply draw the curtains as soon as it becomes dark. This keeps the heat in and the cold out - especially useful for this summer's chilly evenings!

Cooking for summer dinner parties can be a costly affair. Putting lids on saucepans enables you to turn the heat down and save energy. Don't use saucepans to boil water, using the kettle is cheaper.

Many consumers are still overpaying for energy by up to £200 a year. Switch to a cheaper supplier to make both immediate and future savings. The quieter summer period is a better time to switch, so you will be on a cheaper rate for when your usage increases in winter.

The average UK household is oblivious to the fact they are £100-£200 in credit with their gas and electricity providers during the summer. In fact, UK consumers are in credit by an average of 20% of their annual energy bills.

The trend affects an estimated 15 million electricity customers and 11 million gas users who pay by direct debit for their utilities. Most people turn off their central heating altogether in the summer cutting their gas usage by about 80%. They also use lighting and electrical appliances a lot less.

In fact, if you added up all the credits in the UK it would total a whopping £1.7 billion.

So how do you get your credit back? You have two options:

1. ask your supplier for a refund or at the least ask them to reduce your direct debit payments. This can sometimes prove tricky but it is your money.

2. switch to a cheaper supplier and your old supplier has to pay back your credit - so you save money, get on cheaper rates for the winter and also receive a £100-£200 cheque from your old supplier when you switch.

Also, did you know that finding a cheaper energy supplier could save you up to £200? You could also switch to green energy and save money! For all your energy options why don't you have a look at in association with Christian Aid or call 0845 0840 300. (A free donation of up to £40 would go to Christian Aid if you decide to switch).


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