This week is Big Energy Saving Week. In this blog, content developer Azmina gives five top tips for saving money on your energy bills.

an image of a gas hob ring

Big Energy Saving Week is a national campaign run by Citizens Advice every year, in close partnership with the government and other organisations across the UK. It aims to help people reduce their energy bills and get the financial support they are entitled to.

Why is energy saving a concern for people living with cancer?

According to a recent Macmillan/YouGov online survey, almost one in three people diagnosed with cancer say that they feel the cold more.

If you are having cancer treatment, you may need to spend more time at home. You may have to turn up your heating to cope with side effects such as weight loss or hair loss. This can increase your energy bills at a time when you may be unable to work or have a reduced income.

On average, people living with cancer pay an extra £196 a year on their energy bills.

Five top energy saving tips

To mark the Big Energy Saving Week, here are five practical tips for cutting your energy costs:

1. Call Macmillan’s Energy Advice Team on 0808 808 00 00. We can tell you about schemes that are available to support you with your gas, electricity and water charges. Cath, who phoned one of our Energy Advisers, explains:

a quote from our supporter Cath

You may be eligible to apply for a small Macmillan grant to help cover your energy costs. We also have a partnership with Npower to support customers who are living with cancer by capping energy bills and writing off debt through Npower’s Macmillan Fund.

2. Talk to your energy supplier. It is a good idea to telephone your energy supplier, explain that you have cancer and ask what help they can offer with managing your bills.

Your energy supplier may be able to:

  • put your name on a register of customers who need extra care or support
  • offer a grant to reduce the money that you owe them
  • set up a regular payment plan to spread your costs over the year.

3. Switch your energy tariff or supplier. Your tariff is the rate that you pay for your energy. Most fixed energy deals last for no more than three years. If you do not act when your deal expires, you are automatically moved to your company’s standard or default tariff. This is unlikely to be the cheapest option.

According to the consumer organisation Which?, you could save an average of £300 a year by switching your energy tariff or supplier.

When you contact your supplier, ask them if they can offer you a cheaper tariff. The best deals are often those where you pay by Direct Debit or manage your account online with paperless bills.

Otherwise, you could think about changing your supplier. Bear in mind that your existing supplier may charge you for switching. Citizens Advice has a useful tool for comparing energy prices.

4. Make your home more energy efficient. There are many simple steps that you can take around your home to lower your energy costs:

  • Install LED light bulbs which use almost 90% less energy than traditional light bulbs.
  • Ask your water company if they can give you a free water-efficient shower head.
  • Turn off your computer, TV and other electrical items when you are not using them.
  • Keep the heat in by shutting doors and windows in the rooms that you use most.
  • Consider insulating your loft and walls. All the major fuel companies provide either free or discounted insulation.

5. Apply for government payments and discounts. To find out what government funding is available to help with energy costs, you can use the grants calculator on gov.uk. You may be eligible for government payments during the winter, such as the Cold Weather Payment or the Winter Fuel Payment.

If you live in England, Scotland or Wales, ask your electricity supplier whether you qualify for a one-off discount on your bill under the Warm Home Discount Scheme. You may be eligible for the Warm Home Discount if you are affected by cancer, but you will need to apply for it.

For further details, please see our booklet Managing your energy costs or visit our information online.

An image of our Managing energy costs booklet

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We're with you every step of the way

The Macmillan team is here to help. Our cancer support specialists can answer your questions, offer support, or simply listen if you need a chat. Call us free on 0808 808 00 00.

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