Beating the ‘Big Six’ – switch and save this winter

Price hikes by the UK’s six biggest gas and electricity suppliers come into effect this month so as a pre-emptive measure I switched to a new fixed rate contract a few weeks ago. It was an easy decision to make given the circumstances and all the more so after I received two letters within three days from my then dual fuel supplier; the first informed me that they were sorry, but they'd forgotten to email me when they moved me on to their standard tariff in August! And the second, told me that their prices were rising again!

With consumers up and down the country feeling the pinch and things only expected to get worse I strongly advise everyone to set up a Google calendar solely for staying on top of expiring contracts...whatever the utility. It'll encourage you to shop around for the best deal and remind you to keep an eye out for Quidco cashback. If set up correctly, Google Calendar will not just email you, but also send an SMS text message to your mobile phone informing you when to switch, and best of all – it’s free!

Some of the biggest suppliers have announced average increases in their prices of 4% - 10%, meaning if you don’t move soon you may be out of pocket before long. There are lots of tips to keep warm whilst keeping your energy costs down at the same time; here are five simple but effective energy saving tips inspired by this handy set of energy shared by heating oil provider Rix.

Prevent Heat Escaping

One of the easiest ways to keep your home warm this winter is to prevent any of the warmth escaping from the rooms you are heating. Use thick, thermally lined curtains to stop air disappearing out of your windows, and buy draft excluders to place at the bottom of all the doors in your house so that once a room it stays that way.

Turn Off Appliances

It’s a very simple thing to do and it can save you between £50 and £90 a year. Before you leave the house each day and before you go to bed each night just walk around the house and check that all appliances and lights are switched off. Leaving them on standby will simply waste money. When you can, try and turn lights off when you leave the room, or even have a romantic evening with some candles, but remember to extinguish them before you go to bed.

Switch and Save

Switching gas and electricity supplier can sound time consuming and scary but it is actually really simple and will definitely be worth it when you have cheaper bills coming through your letterbox. It’s easy to switch to a better supplier and you can even get some cash back from the majority of switches made.

Use Care in the Kitchen

There are many different things you can do in the kitchen that can help you save energy and keep the bills down. 90% of a washing machine’s expenditure is used up on making the water hot, so set your washing machine to 30 degrees to save energy. Also make sure your fridge is never too full, meaning it won’t have to work too hard and use extra energy to keep your food nice and cold.

Use Eco-Lighting

As the dark nights draw in, lighting can account for 8% of most household electricity bills. By using LED light bulbs, which work on an efficiency level of 80%, you can save around £3 a year per bulb (or £55 in a lifetime). These light bulbs are becoming very popular and can really help to bring your energy bills down.

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This post was contributed by Quidco member, Martin Woods - a UK based online marketing & SEO consultant by day and a self-confessed money saving obsessive by night.

If you would like more information about this article please contact Martin on Twitter or via his blog.