Last week we used more gas and electricity in our house than any other week so far this winter. We’ll try to cut our consumption over the remaining winter weeks but we’re also confident that the financial impact will even out out over the year through monthly our direct debits.
But for millions of energy consumers there is access to no such ability. And guess what? Energy companies add to the pain by charging these consumers more than the rest of us.
If you don’t pay by direct debit the average bill is £100 higher a year than for those that do. So if you’re not paying your energy bills this way now is the time to do it.
In the meantime Robert Halfon, Conservative MP for Harlow, has rallied 200 other MPs to sign a House of Commons motion calling on the energy regulator, Ofcom to stop this profiteering.
Companies say it costs more
The energy companies reckon that being paid by cash or cheque costs them more to administer. They don’t appear to care that many of those paying by cash do so because they don’t have access to a bank account because, they’re too poor. Or they may have a basic account that does not offer direct debits.
If you can pay by direct debit (DD) – do. If you have an account without a DD option, talk to your bank. If you’re having real trouble with your energy bills get advice now – there are still plenty of cold months to come. And try and cut your costs:
- use less hot water – try an egg time in the shower (cuts metered water and energy)
- fill washing machines but don’t overfill kettles
- don’t heat rooms you don’t use (very often)
- wear a cardi
- turn off lights
- turn the thermostat down
- use draft excluders…
Every little helps.
Even with a DD they can still hurt you
Even those who do pay by direct debit can still be ripped-off.
One money fighter, who rented a flat for six months, while building work was carried out on his new house, found that he was expected to pay almost the same amount by direct debit for the small flat he was renting as he had previously paid for a five bedroom, high-ceiling house. The energy company would not budge.
By the time he moved out he had over-payed so much that he was owed £700 and is still chasing hard to get his money.