Rising fuel bills are stretching household finances and people are looking for ways to save money on their energy bills.

Help is at hand through Big Energy Week (16-21 January 2012) which is being run by Citizens Advice Scotland – and has received support from local MP Angus Brendan MacNeil.

During Big Energy Week you can get practical advice on cutting your fuel bills and help to see if you are getting all of the financial support you are entitled to.  You can pick up a leaflet with tips and advice on cutting your fuel bills at your local Citizens Advice Bureaux.

A new website – www.bigenergyweek.org.uk – is full of tips on how to cut your energy bills.  The website also has details of local Big Energy Week events in your area.

Angus MacNeil said:

“Fuel bills are a big worry for many people at the moment.  I am pleased to support Big Energy Week and hope it will make a big difference to my constituents by saving them money on their bills.”

Western Isles Citizens Advice Service, Secretary, Cathy Morrison said:

“We know hikes in prices have put extra pressure on people’s budgets at a time when money is already tight.

“We’re worried that some people are struggling unnecessarily because they’re not on the best deal; live in homes that haemorrhage heat or are not getting all of the financial help available to them.”

Big Energy Week is helping people save money on their bills by encouraging them to:

  •  Contact your supplier to check you are you are on the best  tariff and payment method for you.  Monthly direct debit is on average £100 cheaper per year than paying by cash or cheque.
  • Visit an accredited switching website to see if you could get your energy cheaper elsewhere. You may be able to save up to £200 off your annual bill by shopping around for a different supplier, particularly if you have never changed energy firm.
  •  Insulate the walls and the loft of your home and you could save on average around £120 per year.  All major gas and electricity suppliers are giving away free or discounted insulation to any household, not just their own customers. Ask if you’re eligible so you don’t miss out.  That goes for heating oil customers too.
  •  Check you are not missing out on any benefits or tax credits that could up your income; your local Citizens Advice Bureaux can help you with this.
  •  Using less energy could save you money, just by doing simple things like turning off lights and switching appliances off at the wall. Turning your thermostat down 1°C alone could cut your heating bill by £60 on average.
  •  If you are unable to pay your bills you should contact your energy supplier immediately as they have to help you manage your bills in a way that you can afford.

Added Cathy:

“More and more people are coming to us for advice on how they can save money on their energy bills.  Through Big Energy Week we hope to help lots of people cut their fuel bills and ease their money worries.”