Top tips on avoiding fuel poverty

Fuel poverty is on the rise according to debt charity, according to the latest research.

New figures reveal that 19,437 people seeking debt assistance are currently living in fuel poverty. The average dual fuel bill was £136 a month, which is a significant chunk of the average net monthly income of £847 for people with debt problems.

Those seeking financial help are left £302 short of the amount they need to cover their basic living expenses due to the increased gas and electricity bills. Debt solutions and debt management plans could be worth considering if you are struggling to control your finances.

CCCS director of external affairs, Delroy Corinaldi, said; “The finances of people in fuel poverty are already significantly overstretched – and we are extremely concerned that the current round of energy price rises could plunge them even further into debt.î

Further research has found that 14 million homes went without heating at some point last winter, and the recent energy price hikes will push 7 million UK households into fuel poverty.

Statistics from the Department of Energy and Climate Change show that one in five of all households (700,000) fell into fuel poverty in July 2011.

With many energy suppliers pushing up their gas and electricity prices by almost 20%, the nation is left feeling the cold shoulder of energy suppliers.

Here are some tip tips to avoid fuel poverty.

Compare suppliers

Whilst the majority of energy suppliers have increased their prices for gas and electricity, EDF has not.  It could be well worth shopping around to find the best deal available for you and your home. 5 of the leading 6 UK energy providers have increased their prices by almost 20%, it is only a matter of time before EDF follows suit. 

Many providers now offer long term fixed rate tariffs to insure against further price hikes, which are likely. However if you do not wish to have a fixed rate, you could wait for other energy suppliers to increase their prices again within the next year, allowing you to then compare the rates and tariffs at that point. There are also government schemes, which can help reduce the cost of your winter heating bills.

Compare energy suppliers with Money Expert

Energy Efficiency

If possible, only heat rooms in your home which are used frequently and be conscious regarding turning the heating off and switching off lights when youíre not home. Turn off any radiators in rooms you donít use and only use as much water as necessary.

Staying warm

The summer is officially over and the winter chill can already be felt in some parts of the county so itís time to dress appropriately for the season. Wear lots of thin clothing layers once indoors, rather than walking around in a t-shirt and shorts.  Make hot drinks to raise your body temperature and use hot water bottles to keep you warm.

Debt Management

If you are struggling to cover the cost of heating this winter, a debt management plan could be ideal. A structured plan could help you become debt free and heat your home.

As many plunge into fuel poverty and the cost of living increases, debts are starting to pile up. In the run up to Christmas combine with the increased gas and electricity bills people may be exposed to spending more money this, this could be avoided by seeking out debt advice.

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