Here at Look After My Bills we like to provide cheaper gas tariffs and electricity deals for everybody. Cheaper gas for business people. Cheaper electricity for nurses. And cheaper gas and electricity for pensioners. Call us old fashioned, but we think that when you’ve spent your whole life working and paying into the system, you shouldn’t really find yourself being charged more than you ought to be paying to keep yourself warm and cook your food.
Sadly, because there are no specific energy tariffs for pensioners, that’s often exactly what happens. If you’ve been with the same provider for a number of years, as many pensioners have, then you may well assume that they’ll reward your loyalty with a deal that cuts your energy bills down and makes it worth your while staying with them. That’s how nearly every other product in the world works, isn’t it? But energy isn’t just another product.
Think about it – when you switch from one provider to another, absolutely nothing happens to the gas and electricity that’s coming into your home. You don’t switch because you want the special gas that plays a nice tune as it heats your baked beans up. And you don’t switch to the ‘premium electricity’ that makes your lights shine brighter and releases a delicious lavender scent from your plug sockets. No, you switch because the same, bog standard gas and electric can cost as much as an average of £350 a year less if you shop around for the best deal.
Cheap gas and electricity for the over 60s
There’s no such thing as a special tariff for pensioners, but that doesn’t stop us working to provide cheap gas and electricity for the over 60s. Many pensioners are getting by on a fixed income – sometimes a pretty low fixed income – and so the last thing they need are gas and electricity bills that start high and keep getting higher year in and year out. What’s more, being older makes it more risky to leave the heating off and just slip on another cardigan, and, frankly, why should you, when there are so many other ways to cut the amount of money you have to spend on gas and electricity?
How to lower your energy bill
One quick and simple way to cut the amount you spend on energy is to ask your supplier to put you on their Economy 7 tariff. Economy 7 is a tariff which charges different amounts for your electricity depending upon the time of day at which it gets used. As the name suggests, you get seven hours a day during which your electricity costs less per unit than it does during the rest of the day. This is especially useful if you heat your home using electric storage heaters. The heaters can be powered through the night, when the electricity costs less, and then release the heat they’ve stored during the course of the following day. If you’ve got an electric immersion heater you can pull off the same trick with hot water, provided your hot water tank is insulated enough to keep your water hot for use during the next day.
If you’re not sure whether you’re already on an Economy 7 tariff then take a look at your meter. An Economy 7 meter provides two readings, one for ‘peak’ use and one for ‘off peak’.
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If your home hasn’t been properly insulated then you’re throwing away lots of good money to heat the air around it. Heat can escape through your loft, your doors and windows and, in particular, through your walls, if you haven’t taken steps to have them insulated. You might be wondering if we’ve lost our mind, because here you are trying to find out about over 60 energy deals and here’s us advising you to spend a fortune insulating your house…
Except you don’t need to spend a fortune.
Some energy suppliers are part of a government backed scheme which obliges them to provide energy saving services to customers on specific benefits, including Pension Guarantee Credit. It’s called the Energy Company Obligations (ECO) scheme, and it’s open to anyone who owns their own home – although tenants can apply with the permission of their landlords. Under the scheme you can have single glazing turned into double glazing, existing double glazing upgraded, cavity or solid walls insulated, lofts insulated and boilers replaced.
Many people, when they hear about the ECO scheme, start wondering what the catch is. However, provided your supplier is part of the scheme and you qualify, there really isn’t one.
The Warm Home Discount
If you qualify for the ECO scheme then there’s a very good chance you qualify for the Warm Home Discount as well. If you’re receiving the Pension Guarantee Credit then the Department for Work and Pensions should inform you that you’re eligible for the scheme and then… well, that’s it. £140 is automatically knocked off your energy bill, just like that. Some of the smaller suppliers outside the Big Six aren’t a part of this scheme, so it may be worth thinking about when you’re considering switching from one supplier to another.
So, although pensioners don’t, as a rule, get a discount on their energy bills, there are measures in place to bring those bills down. The surest measure of all, of course, is to make sure that you’re already on the best value tariff for your circumstances.
At Look After My Bills we don’t care if you’re 70 years young, a sprightly 90 or a go-getting centurion, we’ll switch you a deal that saves you money in less than three minutes.