Supplier and demand
Living on a pension means every penny matters, says Pauline Heward-Mills. Switching energy supplier is just one way she found to cut down her bills.
Keeping your gas and electricity bills down can be pretty straightforward if you live on you own, Pauline says.
“When I cook a meal, I make sure there’s enough for a second night, which works out cheaper in the long run,” she says. “Plus, I do all the obvious things – I turn off lights when I’m not in a room and I wash my clothes on a 30º cycle.” For Pauline, taking part in L&Q’s EnergySave programme helped her shave a bit more off her bills. But keeping tabs on her outgoings wasn’t always so easy. “If you have a family, it’s only natural that you will end up spending a bit more on cooking, lighting and heating,” she says.
And she should know all about it – she raised three children. All of them are grown up and have families of their own now. “They come over and we spend the day together,” she says, “but my
eldest son lives in Ghana, so we don’t see each other very often.” Pauline’s husband died 40 years ago, so she is used to coping by herself. One simple way she found to save money was by changing her energy supplier. “I have one company that supplies both my gas and my electricity now,” she says. “You get a discount for having duel fuel.” Pauline also set up a payment plan for the energy to her home in Kilburn, north-west London, which cut her costs further. “I pay by Direct Debit. I don’t want debts hanging over me – I like to be able to pay my bills on time.” The other advantage is that she can build up some credit with her supplier. “That means I get some money back at the end of the year,” she says. “It’s only a small amount, but it all helps – especially as I’m planning a trip to Ghana later this year.
The Big London Energy Switch
With support from local councils across the capital, the Big London Energy Switch taps into consumer power to help negotiate a better deal on gas and electricity.
To take part, you need to register and input how much energy you use at home. Several times a year, an auction is held, where energy companies bid to provide power to the group of consumers. The company offering the lowest price wins. You can then accept their offer – or reject it, if you decide you don’t want to take part.
To find out more, visit: www.biglondonenergyswitch.org.uk
Alternatively, contact L&Q about our EnergySave programme and see if our experts can help you to cut your bills. Call now on 0800 015 6536 or visit www.lqenergysave.org.uk