Taming Gas Prices

You might expect that everyone in the UK is on the price check bandwagon. So it may be astonishing news that, despite severe increases in gas prices and other utility rates, many Britons havent switched to lower tariffs or even bothered to check and see what offers await that may be more attractive than currently held tariffs. Even though a slew of tariffs recently expired, many consumers still havent sought out better deals. As a consequence, those consumers may be missing out on lucrative savings ranging from hundreds to even thousands of pounds a year, leaving themselves unnecessarily hitched to high gas prices.

Go Ahead and Compare!
Perhaps these gas customers are concerned that performing energy price comparisons to investigate cheaper tariffs, and ultimately making a switch to new tariffs with new utility companies, just takes too much time and trouble to endure. Of course, PCTs (price comparison tools) are readily available online by the thousands, and any one of them can help ferret out gas deals that are likely better than existing tariffs.

If you have gone six months or more without checking into possible energy savings through switching gas tariffs because it appears to be an overwhelming undertaking, you might be encouraged by assuming this novel approach to the task: imagine you are being paid for the time it takes to identify a new tariff and set up the switch to it. Track your time online or on the phone, from beginning to finish, and then log the time you devoted to the task on a worksheet paper. Set up a reminder for six months or a year from the date you changed tariffs. When that date arrives, pull out your worksheet and write down the amount of money you saved over six (or twelve) months by having switched tariffs. Next, divide the monetary amount saved by the amount of time worked, and then smile at having earned a very tidy per-hour wage for your efforts.

Yes, Even if You Have Unpaid Gas Bills
A common misconception is that gas and other utility bills must be up to date before a switch can be made. The mistaken perception is so widespread that the government has produced a short video addressing that very topic. *

And, did you know that after making a switch, customers have up to two weeks to change their minds? So even if you make a spur-of-the-moment decision, you dont have to be locked into it forever, but can easily switch back to your previous gas provider or other utility company.

Grants to Help Pay for Gas
Thousands of consumers have benefitted from fuel funding obtained through the British Gas National Trust, ** which was set up to relieve the ravages of fuel poverty. The British Gas Energy Trust issues help in the form of a grant on an event basis, not on an ongoing basis, in order to help struggling consumers get out from underneath a mountain of fuel debt and restore the ability to pay for services. Additionally, the Trust issues Further Assistance Payments to help lighten the load of ancillary household expenses, and points consumers toward financial counseling services to embark upon a cleaner and healthier financial road.    

Grants for Home Improvement for Gas Alternatives
If you are or recently have been a mains or liquid gas consumer, and qualify for the Renewable Heat Premium Payment (RHPP), you can receive a one-off grant from the Energy Saving Trust to help mitigate costs involved in switching over your heating to a renewable technology method. This program, authorized by the Department of Energy and Climate Change, is an extension of the original RHPP, and voucher amounts for this second installation of the program have been increased for all levels. The four types of renewable technologies and their new correlating voucher amounts are as follows:

£600 Solar Thermal Hot Water
£1,300 Air-to-Water Heat Pump
£2,000 Biomass Boiler
£2,300 Ground or Water-Source Heat Pump

If you reside in England, Scotland or Wales, and did not participate in the first phase of this RHPP program, you could be eligible to participate in this release, which has already begun and will continue until the close of March, 2014. See the RHPP website for complete details and requirements. ***

Check Your Options
In this era of skyrocketing power costs, you owe it to yourself to investigate all the opportunities for getting a tight rein on your utility bills. Taming gas prices is an important aspect of making your power budget more manageable.

Sam Jones the author recommends to readers to visit uSwitch.com to compare gas prices from all the main providers.

This article is copyright free.

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