There are a number of things you can do about your Utilities bill/statement and one thing is to ensure is that the meter is read properly, so that you don’t get an estimated bill/statement. As this is one problem when high bills are received, as people don’t always check that it’s an estimated bill and so just pay it.
Between 2015 and 2020 all households will have a smart meter installed to send real-time readings direct to your Utility provider. However, until this happens, the billing accuracy is down to you. Unless your Utility provider has employees that visit you to read and check your Meter.
To read a digital electricity meter, write down the numbers from left to right, ignoring the numbers in red or marked under: 0.1
If there are 2 rows of figures – for people on Economy 7 meters – you should record both sets and make a note of which rate the figures correspond to (low or high).
For dial meters you only need to note down five of the six on display – starting with the 10,000 kWh dial and stop at 1kWh. If the pointer on a dial is settled between 2 numbers, use the lower number. If it falls between 9 and 0, use 9 and reduce the previous figure you wrote down by 1. The same rules apply for dial gas meters. For digital gas meters, note down all numbers, including zeros, but ignore anything after a decimal point or in red.
After my initial checks I have found that not all Utility providers offer some much needed discounts. The Warm Home Discount scheme is a rebate on electricity bills for customers deemed ‘vulnerable’, but only suppliers with more than 250,000 customers are obliged to offer it.
This discount does not affect your Cold Weather Payment or Winter Fuel Payment.
For more information on this, please click on: https://www.gov.uk/the-warm-home-discount-scheme/overview
Anyone unhappy with their energy supplier can make a complaint. To make a formal complaint, you must first refer the issue to your supplier and allow them 8 weeks to resolve the situation and complaint you have. If there is no satisfactory resolution, then you should contact the Ombudsman Services on: 0330 440 1624 or visit: http://www.ombudsman-services.org/
The Ombudsman Services act as an arbitrator between customers and suppliers and can order a company to issue a refund. You may also wish to contact Citizens Advice on: 08454 040506 or visit: http://www.adviceguide.org.uk/
Get help with your Utilities bills
When looking for an energy supplier, compare deals that are right for your household. Competitiveness varies according to usage, postcode, length of contract and what type of company you are happy signing up to. You can use a price comparison website such as TheEnergyShop or uSwitch. Or if you prefer you can call the energyhelpline on: 0800 074 0745
You can also call the Home Heat Helpline on: 0800 336699 to find out if you can claim help with your gas and electric bills. The Home Heat Helpline is funded by Energy UK and offers advisers to provide free advive about grants including the Warm Home Discount scheme, which can cut £140 off electricity bills.
Age UK has recently said that countries which experience much colder temperatures, such as Finland, Germany & France, have significantly lower winter death rates than here in the UK, apparently because the UK has older houses than in the EU.
Layering up with your clothing is one top tip.
Consume warm drinks and meals instead of eating cold snacks such as sandwiches.
Maintain a constant heat at a low temperature rather than heating just one room.
Ensure your Gas and Electric meters are read properly so you don’t receive an estimated bill. Often people don’t check that it’s been estimated.
Ensuring older people have nutritious food & drinks is fundamental to good-quality care. A healthy diet has untold benefits, including helping to prevent long-term conditions such as heart disease, stroke and of course diabetes.