Don’t panic but act wisely over energy price increases

The BBC and other news media warned that UK energy bills could reach as high as £3,000 a year as oil and gas prices surge amid the Ukraine conflict, following comments made by the energy industry.

However, the local Footprint Trust have highlighted the fact that this will only occur if oil prices remain at current inflated levels.  Bills will also be dependent on what tariff customers are on, size of house and lifestyle.

Ray Harrington-Vail from the Trust said,

 “It is important that customers act wisely and don’t let panic headlines sway them into bad decisions.”

Ray says that the bills are likely to increase to an average increase to about £2,000 a year, around a £700 increase. Stating that it is wise to take action now to try and head off pending rises.

The Trust is suggesting that consumers insulate their homes, which will save around £500 per year, if they have not done so already. Other tips include updating inefficient white goods such as old fridges, taking shorter showers, and just turning stuff off.

Tumble drierTumble driers are very expensive to run, currently from around 50p an hour. However after April 1st it’ll be more!  The standard tariff price cap for electricity increases to 28.34p per kWh so… for a tumble drier using 3.5 kWh that means around 99p per hour for it’s usage.  They can also present a fire risk if not maintained correctly,  should never be left on unattended or overnight. Drying naturally is a far cheaper and safer option.

Householders are reminded that mains gas is still cheaper than electric heating, so it is not recommended to use stand-alone electric fires. For guidance on how to use Night Storage heaters to best effect contact the Trust or refer to instruction manuals.

“There is danger with all this news about energy price increases that people might be panicked into doing the wrong thing. I have seen on social media that some are saying that they are turning off the gas and buying electric heaters – electricity is around three times the price of gas so this is not a wise move. I urge charities and others Not to give out electric heaters to those how have working mains gas heating systems.”

“Another worrying move is people coming off pre-payment meters who have issues with budgeting. There is a danger that any money saved by paying by Direct Debit will be lost in bank charges if they go overdrawn. Ideally everyone should pay for their energy via their bank account, but this is not always the best idea for those on very low income with cash flow issues.”

“Very few people have their energy or water supply cut off, this only occurs when in-debt customers do not have a chat with their utility company and explain their circumstances. They will then be given time to pay and may also get discounts or bills partially written off.”

Those struggling with their utility bills should contact their energy suppliers, and have a chat to the Trust on 822282. The charity saves Islanders who use their service around between £200 and £300 per year.