Energy bills: How to make savings of over £300 a year

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The Independent Online

Shopping around for the best gas and electricity prices could save households £325 on their utility bills in 2008, has found.

The online price-comparison site is offering a 10-point plan to consumers that could reduce the cost of their energy dramatically. The plan includes paying by direct debit, to save £71 a year through discounts, and managing accounts online, which could save £143 a year.

The site also suggests switching from buying gas and electricity from two different companies to a "dual fuel" deal with one supplier.

Vigilence could also save us money, and USwitch suggests fuel users check their deals every month to ensure they are still the best available.

Consumers are also urged to ensure their lofts are insulated to a depth of at least 10 inches, and to seal doors and windows against draughts. They should fit energy-efficient bulbs, make sure lights are turned off when a room is empty, and switch off all electrical appliances at the socket to cut down on unnecessary energy costs. Even turning down the heating by one degree could save 10 per cent on bills.

"Switching is a painless process," said Ann Robinson, director of consumer policy at uSwitch. "There is no danger of your gas or electricity being cut off and it certainly doesn't involve any pipes being dug up.

"The best chance that consumers now have of seeing lower energy bills is by taking action themselves."

She adds: "There are still big savings to be had by the 9.3 million households that have never switched. However, these are not the only savings to be made. Energy efficiency cutting down on the amount you use could help too."

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