26 – 30th October is the Big Energy Saving Week. What does this mean for us in Calderdale?
Research from the Department of Energy and Climate Change shows that one in two households could save £200 a year just by switching supplier. Adopting simple energy saving habits can save a further £200 a year.
For the 94,000 houses here in Calderdale, that works out as a whopping £18,800,000 of potential saving. That huge figure is just a small chunk of the £460 million that Calderdale as a region spends on energy each year – mostly with the national “Big Six” energy companies.
Two organisations in Calderdale are part of the 2015 Big Energy Saving Network. Calderdale Community Energy (CCE) and Calderdale Citizens’ Advice Bureaux (Calderdale CAB) have trained up Energy Champions to work with people across our region.
Anne Handley (CCE Energy Champion) said: “Energy bills are like mobile phone contracts and car insurance. Companies usually offer a “fixed price” good deal for one year and then you get moved on to a “flexible” tariff which is much worse value for money. It’s easy to forget when your deal ends. What type of meter you have and how you pay your bill also influences what your energy costs. Almost everyone I talk to could get a better deal- they just don’t know it.”
CCE and CAB are running workshops, training sessions and giving personal one-to-one advice until March next year. They aim to speak to 240 people and offer completely impartial advice – they’re just here to help people find and make real cash savings.
Alastair McGregor (Chief Executive at Calderdale CAB) said “Every day we deal with people who are struggling with money and debts. We ran this project last year and spoke to pensioners and young families who were scared to turn on their fire because of fuel costs. Getting advice and support turns this around. We’re pleased to be running this project again – we’ll be helping hundreds of households and saving thousands of pounds”.
Richard Taylor from Sowerby Bridge was one of the first people to get advice. He said: “I thought I was on top of my energy bills. I make sure my Direct Debit isn’t going up and we’re really good at remembering to turn things off. But I don’t really look at details on the bill and I haven’t changed supplier since I moved in seven years ago. When Anne looked at my bills with me, we discovered firstly that I’ve been overcharged – my account has £474.91 of credit on it! Secondly, I could save £181 a year by switching to a new supplier. Or I could switch to a green, 100% renewable energy tariff and still save £148. I was astounded. I’m going to switch and my current supplier will have to send me a refund for the overbilling – just in time for Christmas!”
Councillor Lynn from Calderdale Council said: “Rising fuel costs are worry for many people. We’re thrilled that two projects here in Calderdale are setting out to put people back in control. In these times of austerity, two hundred pounds is a huge saving for a household. I’d encourage everyone to look at what they can save and to go along to talk to CCE and Calderdale CAB to get help if they need it”.
Councillor James Baker, Affordable Warmth Champion for Calderdale Council said “Sadly many people have to choose between heating their home, and being able to afford to eat. Switching your energy supplier is a great way for everyone to cut down their energy bills. In addition to helping people to switch energy supplier the Council is also going to be investing in a £1.2m insulation scheme to help reduce unnecessary admittance to hospital for cold released diseases, cut CO2 emissions and to ensure people can afford to heat their homes.”
You can find out more about how to understand your bills and review the market for a better deal at the Power to Switch website http://www.goenergyshopping.co.uk/en-gb/power-to-switch.
If you’d like to get advice to find savings on your energy bill, contact Anne Handley on 01422 845 388 or Calderdale Citizens Advice on 01422 842 848.
The Big Energy Saving Week website contains advice on saving and switching http://www.goenergyshopping.co.uk/en-gb/power-to-switch
Information on Calderdale Community Energy, including contact details and their plans for sessions and advice: http://www.calderdalecommunityenergy.org.uk/
Information on Calderdale Citizens Advice Bureau, including contact details and office address: http://www.calderdalecab.org.uk/