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How To Save Cash on Your Bills

Last October, electricity and gas suppliers jacked up their prices for customers here. Bord Gais started the ball rolling and the rest duly followed.

The cost hike wasn't exactly a welcome one for struggling households but there are ways you can beat down the bill.

The most obvious is to get all of the family to change their habits - make sure that everyone in the house knows the importance of turning lights off when leaving a room, unplugging things like phone chargers when they are not be ing used and generally adopting a more sensible attitude when it comes to energy consumption.

That should shave a few euros off every couple of months when the bill arrives but the real savings can be made by switching suppliers.

The benefit for you will depend on a few points - where you live, how you pay your bill and whether or not you've signed up to manage your account online. You'll also find discounts if you get both your gas and electricty with the same supplier - all offer dual fuel tariffs that can significantly reduce your bi-monthly outlay.

There are some good information points that can help you in the right direction when switching suppliers. I found bonkers.ie and consumerconnect.ie to be the best and most thorough. When you log on you'll find everything you need to know right down to the paperwork you'll need to be armed with when you're negotiating.

The Small Print

When you're shopping around looking for the best deal and tariff to suit you, make sure you read the small print and the terms and condition.s

There are some snags - some of the special offers available only apply if you pay every couple of months by direct debit, for example. If that's not something you're comfortable with then you won't have access to some saving opportunities.

ESB reckon that the average household in Ireland spends roughly €950 every year on electricity while the average annual cost of gas is just over €700. When it's broken down into bi-monthly payments, it can put a big dent in the family budget when the bills fall due.

That's why looking at all of the providers and finding the deal that suits you and your family best is well worth the effort of a little research.

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