Today is a traumatic day in the Thrifty household. Our statements from our energy provider, Southern Electric, have arrived.
I have been able to scrrrrrrrrrrape my jaw from the floor and regain my composure – but it has not been a pretty episode. We knew our gas and electricity bills were going up – UK energy companies have all shuffled their tariffs skywards over the past couple of months – but we didn’t expect that the rises would be quite so steep.
We do everything by the Thrifty Book: we found the cheapest tariff using uSwitch, and we pay a fixed monthly direct debit, which qualifies us for a 5 per cent discount. We live in a brick mid-terraced house with small rooms, so our usage isn’t that high. For the past year-and-a-bit, we have been paying:
£21 ($39) a month for electricity
£25 ($46) a month for gas
Southern Electric has now written to us to let us know that from this day forth, we will be paying:
£48 ($88) a month for electricity
£49 ($90) a month for gas
Quite a leap, huh? Our energy prices have more than doubled, from £552 ($1,016) to £1,164 ($2,143) per annum. When your household budget is already streamlined every which way, as ours is, this is quite a blow.
In this country there is always a lot of concern about elderly people who cannot afford to pay their heating bills in the winter. “Fuel poverty“, as it is called, affects those whose energy bills amount to more than 10 per cent of their annual income. With rises like these, I expect that the numbers in fuel poverty will soar this winter.
I got straight onto uSwitch again, found our new cheapest deal and changed energy provider there and then. Our new provider is E.ON; over the course of a year, their gas and electricity will work out at £120 cheaper than Southern Electric’s.
But to be honest, I was hoping for better and better savings. Glurk. Time to bone up on Trees Full Of Money’s energy-saving tips, methinks.