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Date: 21 November, 2003
Advice on how to
cut your fuel bills and information about cold weather and winter
Apart from mortgages, energy bills are Britain's biggest
household expenditure. But bills can be reduced when energy saving
methods are applied, and it helps the environment too
According to SwitchandGive, an independent online comparison service,
many people don't take advantage of the many energy saving methods
available which, with a little effort, can help cut down your gas
and electricity bills by more than half.
steps to an energy efficient home
Ify Anyaegbunam, from SwitchandGive, offered a few suggestions to
help cut energy bills: "35% of heat is lost through walls so
investing in insulation can be the most cost efficient way to save
energy and can save up to £100 per year. Double glazing can
also reduce heat loss through windows by 50% and your heating bill
the sun is out, simply opening the internal doors of the rooms which
get the most sun will allow the warm air to travel through your
home. In addition to this, close curtains after dusk, try to dry
clothes outside on sunny days and avoid using tumble dryers or radiators.
"A lot of energy is used to heat radiators so don't waste money
by blocking them with furniture. Foam upholstered sofas are great
heat insulators and they prevent the heat from getting to the rest
of the room.
"Put kitchen foil behind any radiators that are fitted to outside
walls to ensure that the heat is not lost. If you turn your thermostat
down by just 1°c you can save about £10 a year without
even noticing the difference.
"If your boiler is 15 years old then it's
probably served its time. A new energy efficient condensing boiler
will save you around a third of your heating bills straight away
and even more if you upgrade to modern controls. Buy a 7.6cm (3")
thick insulation jacket for your hot water tank to save £20
per year and energy efficient light bulbs to save £10 per
year. The light bulbs cost from £4 and last 12 times longer
than regular bulbs."
Save and give
Switching suppliers is another easy way of saving up to £200
on your gas and electricity bills. Switching is simple and offers
homeowners a chance to compare every tariff from every licensed
energy provider, free of charge.
Ify Anyaegbunam added: "There are no long-term commitments
so you can switch as often as you like. In fact, it is recommended
that you review your energy providers as often as you review your
car insurance. By switching suppliers through SwitchandGive.com
you can save up to £200 and a free donation of up to £40
will be given to Christian Aid. In addition, for every enquiry made
via the phone line a free donation of £1 is made."
To find out how much you can save on your gas and electricity bills
or call 0845 084 0300.
Don't compromise your health to save a few pounds on heating this
winter. The introduction of cold weather payments means that pensioners
can now claim £8.50 per cold weather period.
During periods of cold weather the Department
for Work and Pensions (DWP) makes payments to those that need extra
help in paying their winter fuel bills. A Cold Weather Payment of
£8.50 per period is paid automatically when the average temperature
is, or is forecast to be, 0°c or below over seven consecutive
There is no need to make a claim. Payments are
made automatically by the Income Support Computer System or Jobseeker's
Allowance Payment System. A small number of cases are paid clerically
by the Social Security or Jobs and Benefits Office.
Winter fuel payments
A Winter Fuel Payment is a one-off payment to help older people
with their winter heating bills. To get a Winter Fuel Payment for
winter 2003/2004 you need to be 60 or over in the qualifying week
of 15 - 21 September 2003 and normally live in Great Britain or
If, during the qualifying week, you get the Minimum Income Guarantee
paid through Income Support, you will get £200. If, during
the qualifying week, you do not get the Minimum Income Guarantee,
you will get £200 if you are the only eligible person in your
household or £100 if there are other eligible people in your
household. However, if you are aged 80 or over you could get an
extra payment of £100 per household. This is the new 80+ Annual
For more information about Winter Fuel Payments or to get a claim
form for either this winter or past winters ring the Winter Fuel
Payment Helpline on 0845 915 1515 (0845 601 5613 for textphone users).
Lines are open Monday to Friday from 8.30am
to 4.30pm and calls are charged at local rates.