Big Energy Saving Week: Check – Switch – Save By Samantha Hardy, Energy Champion

Awareness of our environment is at a record high. The Greta Thunberg effect, the rise of Extinction Rebellion and the intensity of news coverage have led many of us to be far more conscious of the impact we have as individuals on the environment.

Reducing energy consumption is just one element of this movement and forms an important part of the focus of Big Energy Saving Week (BESW) which runs from 20th to 26th January this year.

Big Energy Saving Week is an annual consumer education campaign designed to encourage consumers to take energy saving measures and to switch energy providers in order to reduce costs. This is something that is particularly needed amongst more vulnerable consumers who are often disengaged from the energy market and perhaps lack the confidence or know-how to save money by changing tariffs, moving supplier or improving energy efficiency.

We at Community Impact Bucks are part of the Big Energy Saving Network (BESN) and during the awareness week (20-26th January) we are providing targeted, personalised advice to help some of our most vulnerable households stay warm and lower energy bills.

One to one advice

As a BESW Energy Champion, I will be running a number of drop-in sessions around Buckinghamshire during the week to give free energy saving tips and advice. As a BESN trained adviser, I can:

  • Give impartial advice and support on suitable tariffs or the cheapest way to pay bills
  • Support you to take control over your tariff and supplier, and get the best deal to suit you and your needs
  • Tell you about schemes offered by Government or the energy suppliers that could help with your energy costs and provide support in applying for these efficiency offers

If you can’t make it to one of the drop-in sessions but would like some ideas on how to reduce your energy use and bills, you can find our more about three simple things you can take to save money on your fuel bill: check, switch, and save.

Check  you can save money by simply checking you’re not paying more than you need to for your energy. Just take these three easy steps:

  • Check you are getting the best deal from your bills
  • Check if there is a better way to pay your bills
  • Check you are getting all the benefits and help you are entitled to

Switch  – many people stay on the same tariff or with the same energy supplier for years, without realising they could be getting a better deal elsewhere. By switching tariffs or suppliers, or joining an oil club, you could save hundreds on your fuel bill. To find out more information on how to switch click here.

We also run the Bucks Oil Buying Club (BOB) which takes on the organisation of bulk buying of fuel oil and the negotiation of the best prices to help individuals, community buildings and rural businesses to save money.

Save – the best way to pay less for your fuel is simply to save energy around your home. There are a number of simple energy-saving actions you can take – from closing curtains to turning off appliances rather than leave them on standby. Have a look at our top tips for ideas.

Those living in rural Buckinghamshire may face extra challenges as energy can be more expensive, especially if you don’t have mains gas. For suggestions on how to reduce your energy use and bills in rural households, BESN has produced a rural issues leaflet which highlights some alternative approaches. For example, you may be eligible for certain benefits through the Energy Company Obligation scheme to help you install insulation or an efficient boiler.

With rising energy bills and a growing number of people struggling to make ends meet, there are some simple steps we can all take.

If you would like to more information or advice, please do email or call me on tel 0300 111 1250.

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