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Energy Bills Battle
11:36am 19th October 2012
(Updated 11:36am 19th October 2012)
Energy companies will have to tell us their cheapest tariffs under watchdog reforms.
Ofgem's announcement comes amid confusion over government plans to change the law.
Eden sustainability expert Paul Holmes says there are plenty of other things we can do in the home to cut our bills.
"People need to think about how they use electricity in their home, some of the power is in their own hands. Just learn to turn things off. We've got quite lazy and complacent and it sounds quite simple, but that can make a difference. Finding out what support is available and having someone come in and put insulation in your loft and lagging round your boiler is well worth doing, you can save significant amounts of money and have a warmer home"
"A lot of help is free of charge for people on benefits. If you can save a few percentage points then that's going to amount to real money and it's worth people doing that. There's quite a lot of support available from various agencies in Cornwall in term of insulation and different equipment and it's well worth contacting your local library or council to find out what might be available"
"Every penny saved is a penny that can be spent in Cornwall"
His tips are:
*Think about how you could use energy differently in your home
*Turn off appliances when not in use at the wall
*Lag hot water tanks and pipes and insulate the loft.
*Check out what grants are available to help with costs.
Pirate FM has learnt how a Launceston family have to wrap up in a duvet to keep warm because they cannot afford their heating bill.
Research shows more than half of people on low incomes in Cornwall are living in fuel poverty.
One in ten has been left in pain.
Dad Tom calls it a nightmare: "I just wrap myself up in a quilt or put an extra jumper on because that's all we can do. Having a small child as well, I mean it's not very good. Being on benefits, you don't get any extra help with that either.
"They're saying it's going to go up by £80, well I think it's going to be a lot more than that. That's a week's money to me and my family. That's a week's money, that's a week's food out of her mouth so it's going to have a big impact."
The government has revealed plans to force energy companies to put us on the cheapest deals but those plans have come under fire from Labour.
Speaking after being asked an urgent question in the commons, Energy Minister John Hayes said: "We will use the energy bill to get people lower tariffs and of course there are different options to be considered in that process."
But consumer groups are warning that the plan could push prices up because energy companies might withdraw the cheapest tariffs.
Rob Tolan did the Cornwall research: "Since 2003 I think energy bills have gone up around 90% whereas wages have gone up by around a quarter. So obviously there's a big gap there between how much we're paying not only for fuel but for food and everything else, so it's created this perfect storm."
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