1. ITV Report

How to save on bills through energy policies and tips

SSE has announced a price hike today. Photo: Rui Vieira/PA Wire

British Gas announced today that household electricity and gas tariffs would increase by an average of 9.2 percent from November 23.

That means their new average dual fuel bill will now be above £1,474 a year.

It comes just a week after energy company SSE hiked dual fuel prices by an average of 8.2 percent. One industry insider told ITV News that "behind the scenes" the other energy providers "are all talking about similar rises."

Earlier this year, Energy Secretary Ed Davey said the government's policies were "putting a cushion" between global energy prices and bill.

Here is a look at what these energy policies are and how you can make the most of them.

You can make energy-saving improvements to your home or business without having to pay all the costs up front through the 'Green Deal'. This is a grant which allows you to have work done to your home to help reduce bills which will then be paid off in instalments through your electricity bills.

Energy-saving improvements include:

Infographic showing estimated average impact of energy and climate change policies on household energy bills in 2020. Credit: Department of Energy & Climate Change
  • Cold Weather Payment

You may be eligible for the Cold Weather Payments if you are getting certain benefits.

Payments will be made when your local temperature is either recorded as, or forecast to be, an average of zero degrees Celsius or below over 7 consecutive days.

  • Winter Fuel Allowance

You could get between £100 and £300 tax-free to help pay your heating bills if you were born on or before 5 July 1951. This is known as a ‘Winter Fuel Payment’.

Most payments are made automatically between November and December. You should get your money by Christmas.

You should get a Winter Fuel Payment automatically if you get the State Pension or another social security benefit (not Housing Benefit, Council Tax Benefit or Child Benefit).

You may still be eligible for the payment if you live in another European Economic Area (EEA) country or Switzerland.

  • The Warm Home Discount
A house in Stalybridge, Manchester with solar panels installed on the roof. Credit: Anthony Devlin/Press Association

The Warm Home Discount is available for winter 2013 to 2014 if your energy company is participating in the scheme and you are over 75-years-old on the 'qualifying day' (which has yet to be announced) and receiving the guarantee credit element of the state pension. Alternatively if you are under 75 and getting the guarantee credit element of the state pension (and are not receiving the saving credit).

Some energy companies also extend the Warm Home Discount to those under 75 who are vulnerable such as those on low incomes.

A full list of the energy companies participating in the scheme is available HERE.

The Warm Home Discount does not affect your Cold Weather Payment of Winter Fuel Allowance.

  • Tips for keeping your home warm

The Energy Saving Trust has seven steps to saving energy straight away.

  • Turn it down - turn down your central heating
  • Turn it off - Turn off your light, appliances and chargers when you can
  • Careful in the kitchen - use a low temperature on your washing machine, do not over fill your kettle
  • Get a head - get an eco shower head to reduce water consumption
  • Do not lag behind - insulate your hot water cylinder or boiler
  • Be a draught excluder - draught-proofing products are cheap ways to cut your heating costs
Turn down the thermostat to save on your heating bills. Credit: PA

Other website offer similar tips to help you keep your bills down but your home warm, such as:

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