HARTLEPOOL Citizens’ Advice Bureau has joined forces with two national energy campaigns to help consumers save money.
Hartlepool CAB, in Park Road, is taking part in Big Energy Savings Week – an annual campaign to help consumers save money and energy and also Fair Play for Prepay – a new scheme focusing on getting a better deal for prepayment meter users.
Nationally there are 7.6 million energy customers with prepayment meters who end up paying on average £80 more than direct debit customers. Prepayment meter users also often face problems managing their energy use that credit customers do not, such as lost or faulty keys and equipment.
Bureau manager Joe Michna said: “Big Energy Savings Week is back in time to prepare consumers for winter. We’ll be helping people understand their usage, cut their fuel bills and get the financial support they are entitled to.
“Energy is a huge issue and accessing it cheaply, getting support where needed and saving it where possible can have a massive impact on consumers’ ability to manage their energy usage and cost.
“The service which prepayment energy customers get is stuck in the dark ages and that is why we are taking part in the national Citizens Advice campaign to get a better deal for prepayment customers.
“The Fair Play for Prepay campaign is asking energy companies to offer a greater choice of tariffs and more innovative ways to top up.
“Energy top-ups are stuck in the dark ages.
“It’s bizarre that people can top up mobile phones by text and buy shopping online, but when it comes to prepayment energy, customers have to traipse to the local store.”
Mr Michna added: “Energy firms need to look at boosting choice for prepayment customers, and that is one of the things that our campaign is hoping to achieve.”
Officials say the campaigns will complement each other to tackle energy issues and to go alongside, Hartlepool CAB chiefs have issued its top ten tips for energy consumers.
l Check your energy bills very carefully.
l Talk to your supplier if you think your bill is wrong.
l If money is tight, contact your local CAB.
l Make sure you are on the cheapest tariff.
l Ask your supplier about fixed price tariffs.
l If you use a prepayment meter, remember standing charges will be added daily.
l Whatever fuel you use, you could benefit by joining together with your neighbours and combining your buying power to get better oil, electricity or gas deals.
l Make your home energy efficient.
l Save money and energy – don’t leave appliances on standby or leave laptops and mobile phones on charge unnecessarily.
l Find out how you can achieve lower energy bills and a more comfortable home with the Energy Saving’s Trust’s Home Energy Check at hec.est.org.uk.
For further information, visit www.bigenergysavingwwek.org.uk or call 0300 123 1234.
More details of this campaign can be found at www.citizensadvice.org.uk/fairprepay.