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Using Solar To Protect Yourself From Soaring Energy Bills

Fri, 3 Sep 2011 08:49:04 GMT

Did you see Thursdays episode (1st September 2011) of Watchdog on BBC one? It had a report on the recent energy price rises where recent price hikes have been in the double digit figures. The reason as always for the rise is claimed by the big 6 energy suppliers to be due to increases in the wholesale market price.

The big six energy suppliers in the UK control 99% of the market. They say their costs are rising yet they still manage to make billions in profit every year whilst pushing more and more people into fuel poverty. They say the rising prices are out of their control and always blame the wholesale market. I wonder who controls the wholesale market in the UK? It's almost like there is an energy cartel in the UK but surely that can't be the case as this has already been investigated by the energy watchdogs and they say they can't find any evidence for this.

I don't know about you but I don't like being treated like a fool. The big 6 energy companies in the UK have so much power (pardon the pun) that no-one dares go against them. This may all sound a bit conspiratorial but I think the graph from BBC's Watchdogsays it all.

graph showing increases in fuel bills

What can you do?

If you keep on buying your power from one of the big six suppliers then you are just going to keep on getting the same old random price hikes. Have you ever noticed that gas prices rise just as the weather is turning in the UK and it heads towards winter? We now have the ability to generate some of own energy by getting solar panels installed or if you haven't got the money to invest by applying for free solar panels.

Solar panels, once installed can last for 40+ years and generate a significant proportion of your electrical energy requirements. You can make further savings by using your surplus daytime solar energy to heat your water which will then help reduce your gas bill too.

You can also reduce the amount of electricity and gas that you use in the first place. The best way to cut your electricity bills is by switching to low energy LED light bulbs and reducing your lighting costs by 90%. You can reduce your heating bills as well by getting your loft insulated, there are grants available so it can be done free for many people and at a greatly reduced cost for others.

Switching supplier

We are often urged to switch energy supplier to save money. What they don't tell you is that you don't actually save any money by switching. Take a look at the graph above, can you see any difference in price between the big 6 suppliers? When you switch the comparison sites show you what you could save compared to what you are currently paying. The savings you are seeing is the lower prices charged by the companies that haven't yet increased their prices. Once they increase there prices you will pay the same as you did before. Once you switch you are locked in with the new company for a year, this is to make sure the new company can hit you with their price rise.

I do advocate that you switch energy companies but not in order to save money but in order to switch to a more ethical energy supplier. Switching to a Green electricity supplier will not save you money but it will ensure that your energy is generated through cleaner technologies such as wind or solar.

Switching to a green supplier is not just to make you feel better about the energy you are using. It means that less pollution is produced so the air is cleaner and our children are not adversely affected by the emissions most fossil fuelled power stations produce. It also means that you will be paying your money to a company that is more likely to try and change the current system in the UK where prices are fixed and there is little to no competition.

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