Whilst we do expect the autumn, winter and spring months to be colder, we don’t want to be paying hundreds of pounds just to keep warm once summer is behind us. Fuel poverty is a major issue in the UK: in 2012, 2.28 million people were unable to pay for their heating.

So as you have no reason to think about fuel bills at this time of year, it is the perfect time to actually think about fuel bills and start saving money as soon as it turns cold.

9 tips to save money and act on fuel poverty

Change energy provider

The big six (EDF, E.on, Npower, British Gas, Scottish Power and SSE) have a strong hold of the UK energy bill market. However they are not your only options. Co-operative Energy, Ebico, Ecotricity, Good Energy, Green Energy, LoCo2 Energy and Ovo Energy are all UK based companies who provide electricity and gas, whilst also focusing on renewable energy sources.

It is also now simple to switch by using www.goenergyshopping.co.uk So you can find the energy provider that suits your needs and values before the cold sets in.

Insulation for the future

Admittedly this could be an expensive investment. However in the long run setting up your house to have better wall, roof or loft insulation will lead to a huge reduction in your energy bill and in a few years you will actually be in the money as well as warm.

The Green Deal is a government initiative that can help you make these energy-saving improvements and find the best ways to pay for them, depending on your situation

Be energy efficient

Just being more strict and smart when it comes to your home energy use can also save your loads of money for heating during the winter months.

Turning off unnecessary lights and kitchen appliances are a perfect example. You could also install energy saving light bulbs, put the washing machine on 30°, and keep the fridge & freezer full to save energy. Or you can even think about getting a solar panel installed on the roof.

Be a good neighbour

Checking in on an old neighbour, friend or relative during a cold spell is a perfect way of making sure that they are ok. You can even go a step further and sign up to be a local volunteer visitor with Independent Age so you can befriend an older person looking for friendship.

Energy Bill Revolution

The Energy Bill Revolution is a campaign coalition pushing the government to create a home energy efficiency programme to make all UK homes super energy efficient. You can sign up to support the campaign and perhaps make your MP support it as well, as only 248 have so far.

#coldhomesweek

Ok this is a long term plan, but early February it is Cold Homes Week. So if you want to campaign further for warmer homes, make a note in your diary to keep February free-ish.

Turn2Us

Turn2us is a free service that helps people in financial need to access welfare benefits, charitable grants and other financial help. They also have their own fuel poverty campaign that gives guidance and advice on reducing those bills.

Grants and Deals

For further information about grants and deals for older people, including free insulation and money for heating improvements, contact the Energy Saving Trust. Other sources of advice are: your council, Citizens Advice, the Home Heat HelplineShelter’s free housing advice helpline and if you live in housing association or council housing , your housing officer.

Winter Wise Guide

Read, download or order our exclusive Winter Wise Guide for further details, tips and advice for staying warm and having support this winter. It also includes some delicious winter recipes.

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