Weighing up the cost of Christmas

With the cost of our energy fluctuating so much throughout 2014, Santa might well be tightening his belt this Christmas, but that doesn't mean you can't still enjoy a toasty warm home this holiday season. It's all about planning. After all, the last thing people want to see when January approaches is a sky-high energy bill - one thing we can do to prevent this, is carefully check with our suppliers that things have been measured correctly and we're not over-paying. Here are some tips to make sure everything's okay at home. 


Your water usage

Did you know that the average water bill in the UK will rise to over £400 per year in 2015? With bills landing on people's mats as soon as February, it's time to start making sure everything is in order. If you're on a water meter for example, and have recieved a higher than usual bill, it's wise to check and see if it was based on a meter reading or an estimate. Of course, there's always the chance that a high bill based on a meter reading might be making up for previous low bills based on estimates, but high bills can often be charged by leaks. Try taking a reading, waiting for an hour, and then taking another reading. If it's moved up, you've probably got a leak somewhere - nipping this in the bud can save you a lot of money!


Your general energy usage

Our electricity and gas bills naturally go up during the winter period. Not only is it colder outside, but we're often home a lot more due to transport issues and holidays, and it's the time of year when we tend to cook big meals and invite friends and family over. Not to mention the kids being of school, likely doubling the amount of time the TV and any lights are on. If you notice that you energy bill has gone up dramatically, and unexpectedly, there may be some things you can do. 




Whatever you do, it's important not to simply chalk things down to "Well, the energy supplier must have put up their prices". So many homeowners fail to check when they get a bill through the door, often grumbling about price without actually checking to make sure that it's accurate. If an energy company changes its prices, they are obligated by law to give you 30 days notice in the form of a letter through your door. 


Sixteen competitively priced fixed tariffs ended in September and October this year and for people who haven’t since switched, their energy bills will go up by a typical £200 a year. Ofgem, the energy regulators, have advised all homeowners to check what tariff they're currently on or if they have a fixed term tariff that has ended or will be ending soon.  Making sure you always have the best price and the best tariff for your home is one way to avoid unexpected high bills. Fixed term tariffs might well look appealing, and some of them are geniunely good deals, but think twice before buying in to long term one, and make a note of when it ends so you can contact the energy company and move onto a new deal.


Of course, there's nothing stopping you actually shopping around and moving to a new supplier if you spot something cheaper that fits in with your usage habits - in fact, the Government actively recommend that you switch supplier as often as you like to find the absolute best prices. This keeps the market on its toes and encourages competition.


Other ways to save

Suppose you've got the perfect tariff but you're still worried about your heating bills sky-rocketing. The kids are home and you've got to have the heating on for most of the day. The problem here is lack of control. Investing in newer heating technologies and solutions can give you greater control over your home heating and help you save a serious amount of money. If the time isn't right for you to upgrade to a fully programmable, energy efficient electric radiator or infrared heating panel, you can look at cheaper upgrades to your current system in the meantime. An energy saving monitor can help you track your energy usage or a more advanced thermostat can give you a bit of extra control over temperature. 




Eco Stores Direct are here to bring you the very latest in energy news, views and opinions from across the UK. They are also suppliers of energy efficient electric heating solutions and are constantly assessing the market for the best products and the latest ground-breaking technology which they think will make a real difference to their customer's homes. Eco Stores Direct are devoted to helping you reduce your carbon footprint and bring down your energy bills and they work hard to raise awareness of energy efficient products that can make all the difference. For more information on their range of stylish wall-mounted electric radiators or  designer Infrared panel heaters, call one of their friendly team today on 0330 300 4444 for a free assessment.