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Are you ready to pay £50 more for your energy bills?

British Gas has hiked prices again - so what should you do now? Consumer journalist Christine Toner takes a look at what's going on and what you can do

energy billsHave you got an extra £50 burning a hole in your pocket? Not sure what to do with it? Well, you’re in luck as British Gas are on hand to help. The energy supplier has announced another price hike – the second in just four months – in a move that will hit as many as 3.5 million customers.

In April, the firm announced it was increasing its standard variable tariff by 5.5%, due to a rise in wholesale energy costs, and this week added salt to the wound by hiking prices again, this time by 3.8%. As a result, its customers can expect to see their bills rise by £44 a year from October 1st.

Good news for those people with cash to (literally) burn. But if, like most of us, you can think of better things to spend your money on, here’s how you can avoid the hike and reduce your bills.

Switch providers

It’s not just British Gas customers who are being hit by hikes. EDF, E.ON and Bulb have all raised prices twice this year. As such, you could be forgiven for thinking there’s no point switching providers. However, most companies (unfairly) reserve their best deals for new customers which is why switching can save you hundreds of pounds.

Looking for a better deal? You can save on average £243 by using our free-to-use, Ofgem-accredited switching tool

Change your tariff

You could save money even without switching provider if you change your tariff. Standard variable tariffs are the least cost effective and there are almost certainly more competitive deals on offer. According to MoneySuperMarket you could save up to £253 a year by switching from a standard variable tariff to the cheapest fixed tariff with your current provider.

Get a new boiler

It’s not exactly a cheap fix but getting a new boiler can help you save on energy bills in the long run. Most boilers last for around 10 years then they start to become inefficient, wasting both gas and money. Installing a new, energy efficient boiler should cost between £600 (for installing a boiler in the same place as the old one) to around £1500 (for upgrading your entire heating system).

Insulate your home

Regardless of your energy tariff, if you’re house is letting all of the heat out you’re going to be losing money. As heat rises it makes sense to get the lost insulated first. In an uninsulated home a quarter of all heat is lost via the roof. And while we know the weather has turned a little bit, just remember it’s not a job to do on a hot summer’s day!

To see how much you can save click here

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