The top 10 energy myths – answered

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We know that making your home greener can be a daunting task so we’ve compiled a list of ten of the most popular energy myths that people get told and answered them:

The top 10 energy myths

1. You must use the same company for your gas and electricity supplier

No, you can use a different company for each type of energy product. However, energy suppliers try to persuade their customers to use them for both by offering package deals. It’s worth looking around even so.

2. Switching energy suppliers is difficult

It couldn’t be easier! Once you have found the cheapest gas and electricity supplier (tip: use a comparison website to compare gas and electricity prices) – just ring the cheapest provider up and give a meter reading. They do all the rest. It’s not unlike when you switch banks. The companies are keen to get your custom, so they do the donkey work for you. They will contact your current supplier. You won’t have any disturbance at all and no annoying phone calls to make. The only problem is that the process can take between four and six weeks.

3. Payment methods do not matter

Sadly this isn’t true. It is considerably cheaper to pay by Direct Debit for your energy, which unfairly advantages those with higher incomes and bank accounts. For those living on very low incomes energy is effectively more expensive. There are calls for this to end and decisions will be made on the matter soon.

4. If you rent a property only the landlord can switch supplier

This isn’t necessarily true. Being a tenant should not generally affect whether you can change supplier. The detail, as so often in life, is in the small print. Why not talk to your landlord about it and tell him how simple it is. There really is no need for him to object.

5. You can’t change to another company once you have switched once

Another myth! You can switch whenever you want and as many times as you want. The only thing to be aware of is the terms of your contract when you sign up. Sometimes there is a charge if you want to exit a fixed-term contract. This is not unreasonable. Just wait until the end of the term, then switch. This means you can constantly check to find the best deal and be prepared to jump ship if a better deal becomes available.

6. You save money by running appliances late at night

This is true if you are on an Economy 7 deal, but that’s the only way of saving money on energy bills by adopting a nocturnal lifestyle. You can get your washing done during the day and hang it on the line, saving money by using sunshine and wind instead of radiators and tumble driers.

7. Switching suppliers requires pipes to be dug up

Relax! Gas and electricity all comes from the same source, so there is no need for any digging. You just change who you’ll be paying for it.

8. Direct debt customers are subject to arbitrary charges

This isn’t true. The law states that, in line with the Direct Debit Guarantee, suppliers must give you a ten-day warning if it intends to increase or change your payments.

9. Paper bills are necessary

No! Many companies positively encourage paperless billing and if you agree to it, you may even get a discount.

10. There is no-one to turn to if you have problems paying energy bills

Help is at hand. Call the Home Heat Helpline on 0800 33 66 99. They will give you free help and advice about paying your energy bills.

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