Help save the planet and cut your bills too

This week is Big Energy Saving Week! It’s a national event which gives all of us the opportunity to learn more about how we can use less energy around the home.

The benefits of this are enormous – using less energy means reduced bills. On a wider scale, it helps the UK’s carbon emissions and improves our energy security.

The week is really all about us as consumers and there’s plenty of help available so you can check you’re getting a good deal from your energy supplier – and switch providers if you’re not. On top of that, there’s information to help you work out if you’re eligible for Government grants for things like insulation.

The main sources of information are the Big Energy Saving Week web pages which can be accessed from the Citizens Advice Bureau website (

On these pages you can learn more about tiny tweaks which can pay dividends – like changing to paying your energy bills by direct debit. This simple change can save families £100 a year!

You’ll also find a list of approved price comparison websites which will look at whether you could save money by changing energy supplier. If it all sounds a bit daunting, there’s a handy leaflet on the site, produced by Consumer Focus which explains the process of switching. The CAB also has a really informative list of ‘frequently asked questions’ (and answers!).

The ‘insulate’ section of the website is all about reducing your bills by using less energy in the first place. The Energy Saving Trust estimates that the average home in the UK wasted £280 last year.

Insulating your home is also an excellent way to save money. The Big Energy Saving Week website has information about the six largest energy suppliers giving away free or discounted insulation for those eligible.

There are also two Government funded initiatives – the Warm Home Discount Scheme and Warm Front - which help families and individuals with energy costs, heating and insulation.

The website also lists information on events around the country aimed at encouraging energy efficiency – our nearest event seems to be at the wonderful Kirdford Village Stores on Saturday. The West Sussex Fuel Poverty co-ordinator will be there, alongside a volunteer energy champion.

I’m always conscious that not everyone has access to the internet so, don’t forget, you can pop into Horsham’s Citizens Advice Bureau for more information.