What You Need to Know About Your Energy Bills This Month
This month a lot has been going on behind the scenes in the energy industry. There have been some humongous changes that may impact on our energy bills in a good or bad way. It's thought that now, apart from mortgage and rent payments, energy is a household's biggest monthly expense. We're all looking for ways to save but really the prices we pay are in the hands of the companies and the government.
The Big Debate
Labour announced this month that they could freeze energy prices until 2015. With the big six increasing their prices by up to 10% this winter many welcomed this as a solution. This left the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats floundering, trying to find ways to strike a better deal and it seems green levies have taken the strain.
What is a Green Levy?
Green Levy charges make up 9% of your energy bill. Energy companies claim that this is the reason their prices are so high yet on closer inspection it doesn't account for the increases. The Green Levies help to fund schemes such as the Green Deal and the Warm Front scheme, bringing much needed solutions to those on such a low income they're suffering as a result.
Most of the money helps the elderly and as AGEUK report a rise in up to 30% of winter related deaths in the elderly, it's obvious that the schemes are a necessity. Yet David Cameron has pitched a solution that claims to save households £50 off their energy bills each year (just a quarter of what many household paid in admin errors last year) by making this service slower.
Now when someone in need applies for free insulation or energy saving solutions to keep their bills lower, they will not have to wait two years to be seen. They will have to wait four. This alone seems incredulous considering many vulnerable elderly fail to survive just one winter.
The Other Solution
Another pitch put forward is to move the costs over to the tax bill. We still pay but in a different way. It will shave money off the energy bills but will it really be welcome?
How Your Opinion Matters
As demonstrations take place outside the big six and customers lose trust in their energy providers, one giant, Npower have made quite a bold move. They were recently voted the worst for customer care and it seems this is an accolade they want to hold for a while.
They're taking their customer service overseas, to India in fact in a bid to cut costs. Now Npower increased their prices the most this winter by an incredible 10.4% and they're making this move while customers are still reeling from the shock.
They talk of cutting costs but don't be fooled into thinking they'll be cutting costs for you. They're referring to the 28 billion pound debt they've racked up.
It seems that the big six assume that because heat and light is essential in the UK, consumers will put up with poor service. In fact, if an energy supplier raises prices, to maintain loyalty they must show they actually value their customers. This is one lesson Npower are about to learn.
Don't forget you can switch at any time, any changes the government make will affect every energy company so you don't have to fear missing out. With some MPs campaigning for switches to take less than 24 hours, you could benefit within a day soon!