Lifestyle

Tuesday 16 September 2014

What else can you do to keep your energy bills under control?

Check your prices every year

Most of us know that switching suppliers or getting a better deal from our current supplier is the quickest and easiest way to cut the cost of gas and electricity.

However, more than half of Irish households have never switched for better electricity prices and the numbers are even higher for gas.

Staying on expensive standard rates means you could be paying €250 per year more than you need to.

Even if you have switched before, discounts usually last for one year only, then your supplier will move you on to a standard rate.

If you've been with your supplier for more than a year, check your prices on a comparison service like bonkers.ie. If you find a better deal, you can switch.

You can also call your supplier to ask for a cheaper rate. If your account is in good standing, they will usually apply a new discount for another year.

Look into a budget plan

Most customers pay their energy bills every two months based on meter readings and estimates, but it is possible to pay a set monthly amount for gas and electricity regardless of the time of year and how much energy is used.

Budget plans are not payment plans for customers in difficulty or in arrears. Instead, they offer a way to spread the cost of gas and electricity evenly throughout the year.

All suppliers have budget plans and they work by reviewing a household's electricity or gas consumption for the previous year, working out how much it would cost in the coming year and dividing it into 12 equal payments.

The main benefit of a budget plan is that it makes energy costs predictable throughout the year and a cold winter doesn't necessarily mean a huge gas or electricity bill.

And if you overpay, you can claim back any surplus or use it to lower your payments in the coming year.

Supplier contact numbers:

Airtricity – 1850 81 22 20

Bord Gais Energy – 1850 78 77 88

Electric Ireland – 1850 372 372

Flogas – 1850 306 800

PrePayPower – 1890 987 839

Irish Independent Supplement

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