Check, switch and save on energy

Citizens AdviceCitizens Advice
Citizens Advice
Citizens Advice Northumberland has been on the road helping local residents to save money on their energy bills as part of Big Energy Savings Week.

The advice providing charity set up stalls in Hexham, Berwick, Haltwhistle, Belford and Wooler, as well as in every Jobcentre in the county during the last two weeks of January.

Big Energy Savings Week (BESW) is a partnership campaign between Citizens Advice, Citizens Advice Scotland, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and numerous other organisations.

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It is funded through a statutory levy on energy network companies.

Last year, activity across the country led to thousands of people saving approximately £1million between them.

And almost nine in 10 consumers contacted after attending a BESW session said they felt more confident that they knew how to save money and energy in future.

This year’s BESW focused on supporting consumers to switch energy suppliers, access support and make energy efficiency savings.

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Citizens Advice Northumberland’s energy advice team ran drop-in sessions to help people find the best deal on their energy bills.

Team members also provided advice on how homes can be made more energy efficient, as well as ensured people were getting any discounts or grants they were entitled to.

New figures show that 21.1 per cent of households in Northumberland switched their energy supplier last year.

Despite the introduction of a price cap on energy bills at the start of the year, people could still save more than £150 by switching their supplier.

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Citizens Advice research shows that older people and people on low incomes are less likely to shop around for cheaper energy deals and are more likely to be on the most expensive rates.

Many people stay on the same tariff or with the same supplier for years without realising they could be getting a better deal elsewhere.

Ofgem research has found that more than half of households are still on a poor value default deal and that 34 per cent of people have never switched supplier.

Laura Ratcliffe, team lead for the energy project with Citizens Advice Northumberland, said: “There are many reasons why people may be paying too much for their energy, but Big Energy Savings Week is a great chance for people to get a bit of extra advice and support on how they can save money on their bills.

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“There are more than 18,000 households in Northumberland struggling due to fuel poverty, and many more worrying about the rising cost of heating their homes.”

If you missed one of the energy awareness sessions, support is still available through Citizens Advice Northumberland’s energy project.

The team of specialist energy advisers offers free and impartial assistance with a range of energy issues.

These include:

• How to understand your bills and ensure you are paying the right amount;

• How to check that you are getting the best deal;

• How to address debt or payment issues;

• How to save energy and keep your home warm for longer;

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• How to check if you are entitled to any additional financial help.

You can contact the team by calling into one of Citizens Advice Northumberland’s offices, calling 01670 339960 or emailing [email protected]

If you are interested in volunteering for Citizens Advice Northumberland and providing advice on energy matters, contact [email protected] or call 01670 339985.

Citizens Advice Northumberland is a registered charity, which helps to resolve legal, money and other problems by providing information and advice.