Big Energy Saving Week runs from 27-31 January 2014 and will help consumers take practical steps to make cuts to their bills by checking they are on the best deal, switching tariff or supplier and taking up help to insulate their homes and reduce their energy usage.

A survey for Big Energy Saving Week highlighted that only 19% of those surveyed had insulated their homes. The survey also found that people are trying to cut their energy costs by turning down the heating (52% of people) or using less electricity (51% of people). More than a sixth (16%) are using fewer rooms in their home.

To help people take control of their bills Citizens Advice has released ten top tips to help you check, switch and insulate.

1. Check your bills carefully and read your meter regularly. This will allow you to check how much energy you use and make sure you’re paying the right amount.
2. Talk to your supplier if you think your bill is wrong or if you have problems paying. They’ll be able to give you advice about available support or talk you through repayment options.
3. If money is tight, contact your local CAB. They can check to see if you are getting the benefits you are entitled to, or if you can get help paying your bills.
4. Make sure that you’re on the cheapest tariff. Check with your supplier and use an accredited switching website to see who’s offering the best deal. Tariffs are changing in 2014 so it is important that you are aware of your current deal and any changes your supplier is planning.
5. Most energy suppliers offer fixed price tariffs, where the price of a unit of energy will stay the same for the length of the deal. These can work out cheaper in the long term and make it easier to budget – although you might need to pay by direct debit and your bills will still go up if you use more energy.
6. If you use a pre-payment meter, remember that standing charges will be added daily – even when you aren’t using energy. Check how much they are and keep your meter topped up even during warm weather to avoid unexpected charges
7. If you use heating oil as your main fuel, buy before winter and see if there are any local oil buying clubs you can join. If not, you might want to start your own.
8. Make your home energy efficient – insulate lofts and walls, double glaze or use thick curtains to keep the heat in, and get your boiler serviced or replaced to ensure it is energy efficient. There are schemes to help with this.
9. Save money and energy – don’t leave appliances on standby or leave laptops and mobile phones on charge unnecessarily. Fix leaking taps and always turn off the light when you leave a room.
10. Do a home energy check to find out about savings of up to £250 a year on household energy bills. Visit the Energy Saving Trust home energy check at hec.est.org.uk. Use this check to get a full report with details of your home’s energy use and the savings you could make.

Gillian Guy, Chief Executive of national charity Citizens Advice said:

“We know that people are finding it hard to make ends meet and struggling with the cost of basic necessities like energy and housing. This week we’re helping as many people as possible make sure they are not paying a penny more than they have to for a warm home or to keep the lights on.”
Big Energy Saving Week is supported by the Department of Energy and Climate Change, Energy Saving Trust, Age UK, ACRE (Action with Communities in Rural England) and Energy UK.
Further advice and information can be found at www.bigenergysavingweek.org.uk