Winter is coming: is now the time to freeze your rising energy bills?


Oct 24, 2014
Winter is coming: is now the time to freeze your rising energy bills?

After a lovely long summer, I can’t help noticing how suddenly we have moved into Autumn; trading shorts and sandals for winter coats and boots. But of course this is just a taste of things to come; winter will shortly be knocking on the door and so will higher energy bills.

Of course when the weather turns colder, as a nation we become fixated with our energy suppliers who almost certainly will dominate the headlines again this winter with talk of price hikes and ways to reduce your energy bills.

You may remember last year, the government body Health England recommended that we kept our heating thermostats turned down to a minimum of 21C during the day and 18C at night. This year’s recommendation however is 18C both day and night, although those over the age of 65 with poor health a warned to increase their thermostat to a comfortable temperature. 

British Gas has said that even a 1C reduction in your home temperatures could save you a very worthwhile 10% off your energy bills, so this is certainly something worth doing however I can’t help wondering why Health England thinks it is ok to keep the temperature at a lower level in the day time this year compared to last? 

Does this year’s fashion offer a much wider range of woolly jumpers or perhaps the onesie has gone thermal! 

So what is happening with this year’s energy prices?
News out this week suggests that the somewhat previously disgraced 'Big Six' energy suppliers are trying to make a comeback, launching some of the best new deals on the market to rival their smaller adversaries. 

For some months the smaller energy providers have been claiming the top spots in best buy tables, undercutting the big firms however following the launch of a new tariff from SSE, the big six are beginning to fight back and now account for five of the ten top spots on the league table.

For example Sainsbury's Energy, powered by British Gas is the fifth cheapest deal available, offering a fixed deal of £1,099 until October 2015.

The top 4 places in the energy price comparison league table are still dominated by the small energy companies who have been leading the way since the huge spikes in prices over the last 12 months, capitalising on the negative publicity the big players received.

In fact seven in ten users of the price comparison websites Energyhelpline, GoCompare and uSwitch are now moving to smaller energy firms, such as Ovo, Ebico and First Utility, so it will be interesting to see if this pattern changes now the big boys have rolled up their sleeves in a bid to take back the biggest piece of the pie.

So whilst energy prices aren’t currently being impacted by external factors, it’s clear that the energy companies themselves are reducing their prices in order to offer competitive rates.

Is it worth switching energy supplier right now?
Unless you are in a fixed energy tariff, our advice is that you should shop around every 6 months to see whether you can save money by switching energy supplier. I appreciate this may seem like a lot of hassle but it only takes around 30 minutes; time that could be well invested every 6 months if it saves you a substantial amount of money.

Considering the bad press and tough economic climate, it still surprises me how many people have yet to make the move and switch energy suppliers; especially given the fact that these are the people who have most to gain and could undoubtedly save hundreds of pounds.

So whether you are a virgin energy switcher or a seasoned switcher, don’t forget to check out the latest deals with our partner at the EnergyShop before the long winter nights really set in.


Ashley Shepherd is an Over 50s Personal Finance Expert

ashley shepherd

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