How can I drastically reduce our utility bills, which have increased fourfold in the last few years? I am with EDF and my current yearly bill for both gas and electricity together is around �2,300 a year when it used to be �600 a year.
Would changing providers help or are they all just as bad? I know there's been loads in the media about this but really need to get to grips with it now.
Check that you are not in credit with them (I'm assuming you pay by direct debit). We discovered we were £1900 in credit to EDF, which they put down to a couple of estimated readings! I'm assuming they based every estimate on our maximum consumption rather than an average. They found it very difficult to understand that they should reduce our direct debit when we uncovered how much they owed us, they firmly believe dds can only be increased, whatever the circumstances!.
Chemenger, I don't pay by direct debit - just pay the quarterly bill as it comes in. The last horrendous bill (which I haven't yet paid) was for �850 (Nov to Jan) and was readings that EDF had taken, not estimates. There's nothing on the bill to say that I'm in credit.
Is there a different company that are now known to have lower rates or is EDF one of the better ones already?
have you done a comparison? no one company has lower rates, it is personal to your usage pattern. why don't you pay by direct debit? Cheapest way? has anyone checked your meters? have you raised a complaint with EDF to get this sorted?
It will depend on your tariff. It is normally cheaper to pay by monthly direct debit and run the account online. I am in the process of switching to EDF on a fixed tariff as it was one of the cheapest options in my area. Go on price comparison websites with your actual annual usage (your current provider should be able to give you those figures) and you can see if there are cheaper options. I check every year and swap to a cheaper deal. Ask EDF if there is a better tariff for you too.
Always have a look round at other providers as soon as your bills appear to be going up (which can't be explained by seasonal use). You will definitely save if you do. It's worth the bit of hassle to switch.
And switch to direct debit so you get no nasty shocks. It also works out cheaper.
That's a hell of a bill. Totally agree that you should consider paying by DD. you should definitely shop around... There are NO prizes for loyalty! And then you need to consider reducing your consumption. How big is your house? Shut the internal doors and only heat the rooms you're in, replace all light bulbs with low energy ones, switch the microwave off at the wall if it has one of those dratted LED clocks on it, dry clothes outside as far as possible (maybe not tonight, though!), use insulating tape around door frames, chimney balloon (or bin bag full of loft insulation) in unused chimney, showers instead of baths, turn down thermostats, wash clothes at 30degC, rationalise central heating timings, lag the hot water cylinder, blah, blah, blah... If you own the house, add loft insulation to that list of essentials.
United utility was much more expensive than edf for me (£500 per year more expensive). Different companies charge different rates in different areas, so it's best to go onto a price comparison site and see which company has the lowest priced tariff for your area. An average family dual fuel bill is around £1400 per year so £2300 is quite a bit above average but not impossible depending on how you consume your fuel. Is the heating and hot water on all of the time? Do you use a lot of electrical appliances all at once? Do you have standard light bulbs? Do you have wall and loft insulation?
We had energy bills like that- mostly gas. However we live in a very drafty sprawly old farmhouse. We have cut ours by more than a third but we rely on our woodburners in the kitchen and livingroom. We have the heat on only an hour in the morning and an hour at night. Same with the hot water. We also completely shut off the heat to the rooms we don't use and only heat them occasionally. We added top up insulation and sealed up as many drafts as we could -that has made a huge difference. I dream of a new heat efficient house. I don't think DH will ever move.