A culmination of factors is creating problems for Britain’s household debt levels to electricity and gas suppliers. It’s recently been estimated that money owed to energy companies by domestic consumers could total more than 600 million pounds, with perhaps as many as four to five million owing a balance [an increase of around 6% from last year] and struggling to keep on top of bills. The amount owed has increased by around 25% on the previous year.
If these figures are accurate, it is worrying that as one of richest nations on earth, many people are still struggling to pay to heat their home or cook food. There are many factors likely to be contributing to this situation, but it would seem clear that the current and recent economic downturn isn’t helping. It is affecting pay packets. Wages are rising slower than inflation, and certainly lower than the rate of gas energy prices rises. A very cold winter and record cold March hasn’t helped either. The wintry weather caused a large increase in energy consumption, especially for gas, when the UK nearly ran out of reserves recently. The warmer spring-like weather has arrived in the past week giving some respite for residents of England, Wales, and Scotland.
Minister for Energy and Climate Change, Greg Barker, responded to the alarming news of customer debt levels, issuing a statement to advise that energy conservation and saving is essential to help lower bills. He also issued advice about how to keep on top of payments and seek help in the form of subsidies if required. Anyone who is struggling to keep their home warm can ring Home Heat Helpline on 0800 336699. Around 2 million households in the UK (including pensioners) benefit from over £100 off their energy bills each year.
As we leave the grip of winter, the focus will naturally shift away from cold weather to wishing for long hot summer days on the beach. However, it’s always a great time to shop around for gas and electricity prices and ensure you are on the best deal possible and prepare for next winter. In a rising gas market, fixing prices may be beneficial. Others prefer to keep tariffs flexible and move with the price market. It’s also always a good time to look at saving money through saving the planet too, especially those on a lower budget. Making your house as energy efficient as possible such as improving or replacing double glazing windows and doors, cavity and loft insulation, and draught excluders all can help to keep energy bills down. Some can even benefit from grants for green energy including solar panels or wind turbines.
At 1Gas we have arranged hundreds of gas connections for homes and businesses right throughout the UK. We offer competitive prices and one of the best services around. So, if you need a new gas supply to your property, an alteration, disconnection or an upgrade, we may just be able to help you. Feel free to contact us with any questions or for a free quotation.