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Brits could save £500m a year if they take control of their heating while households could save £75 a year

Brits could save £500m a year if they take control of their heating while households could save £75 a yearTuesday, 21 October, 2014

Big Energy Saving Week – a joint campaign between Energy Saving Trust, Department of Energy and Climate Change ( DECC) and Citizens Advice – reveals 74 per cent of Brits are still worried about their energy bills. The campaign helps householders learn how to take control of their energy bills with free advice available during the week over the phone, online and at events across the UK.

Philip Sellwood, Chief Executive of Energy Saving Trust, said: “Rightfully, millions of householders are confused by their heating controls because, let’s be honest, it is a bit of a minefield. There are plenty of myths out there and it’s no wonder people aren’t getting it right. We are urging customers to learn about the myths, check their tariff, switch suppliers and insulate their homes.” 

Energy and Climate Change Secretary Ed Davey said: “The easiest way to cut energy bills fast is to shop around for the cheapest energy deal and switch suppliers. Thanks to government action to reform the energy market the number of independent suppliers has almost trebled since 2010 – encouraging greater competition which helps drive down prices. 

“We’re also making it easier and quicker for people to switch, and the major energy suppliers have confirmed that switching times will halve by the end of this year to just two and a half weeks.”

Gillian Guy, Chief Executive of Citizens Advice, said: “Day in day out Citizens Advice helps people to get on top of their energy bills. In the last year 80,000 people sought our help with fuel debts. Families are worried that they won’t be able to heat their homes as winter approaches. We are running events around the country to ensure people know all their options for cutting down on their bills.”

The findings from an Ipsos MORI survey of over 2,000 UK respondents show that almost four fifths of people (78 per cent) claim to understand how to use their heating controls. However, many of these respondents turn out to be using their heating controls incorrectly. Of those who thought they understood how to operate their heating controls:

  • MYTH 1: Turn the heating up when it’s cold outside. Half (52 per cent) turn the thermostat up when it’s cold outside. A home shouldn’t need this as the thermostat is there to maintain the home temperature whatever the weather.
  • MYTH 2: Turn up the thermostat to heat the room quicker. Over a third (35 per cent) turn their room thermostat up when they want the room to heat up quicker. This does not help a room become warmer any quicker and only heats the home to a warmer temperature.
  • MYTH 3: Leave the heating on low constantly. Thirty-eight per cent think it is more energy efficient to leave the heating turned on at a low temperature constantly, rather than turn it on and off. This means these homes are heated when no-one is there to benefit and then the home is too cold when people are in the home.
  • MYTH 4: Hot water runs out if you stop feeding the tank. Nearly a third (31 per cent) leave their water heating on all the time to make sure they never run out, which could be costing far more on their energy bills than necessary.
  • MYTH 5: Keep electric storage heaters on all the time. Our research also found that few people with electric storage heaters fully understand how they work (only 38 per cent). This means that households with electric heating could be paying through the nose by not taking advantage of cheaper night rate electricity.


  • EST’s research also found many households are still not regularly switching energy supplier. Only a quarter of bill payers claimed to have changed energy supplier in the last year, yet we found switching is easier than people think.
  • Over two thirds (67 per cent) of those who had switched energy suppliers in the last year agreed that it could save a lot of money, but only 31 per cent of those who’d not considered switching thought it could benefit them.
  • Older people are less likely to consider changing their energy supplier; 60 per cent of those over 55 claim they are unlikely to consider switching in the next year, compared to 42 per cent of those under 35.

Big Energy Saving Week (20-24 October) is funded by DECC in collaboration with Energy Saving Trust and Citizens Advice Bureau. Other partners supporting the campaign include Global Action Plan, Age UK and ACRE (Action with Communities in Rural England). The week will help householders to take practical steps to cut to their bills by checking they are on the best deal, switching tariff or supplier and taking up energy saving actions such as using their heating controls in the correct way.

Big Energy Saving Week is part of a wider DECC initiative known as the Big Energy Saving Network – a £1 million programme to support eligible third sector organisations and community groups and deliver help and advice to vulnerable consumers.

In order to reach as many households as possible, during the course of the week there will be local events across the UK which will be run by a network of Citizens Advice Bureaux and community volunteers.

Any people needing help and advice on any of the issues raised in this release should call the Energy Saving Advice Service (England and Wales) on 0300 123 1234 or Home Energy Scotland (Scotland) on 0808 808 2282. Householders in Northern Ireland may be able to benefit from the Warm Homes scheme – call 0800 988 0559 for further details.       

For further information please contact:

Steven Flanagan 0141 333 0557 / 07557 210989 /  

Eileen Clarke 0141 333 0557 / 07827 949569 /

About Big Energy Saving Week

1.   Big Energy Saving Week is supported by the Department of Energy and Climate Change, Citizens Advice Bureau, Energy Saving Trust, Age UK and ACRE (Action with Communities in Rural England).

2.   Big Energy Saving Week is a national campaign to help people cut their fuel bills and get all the financial support they are entitled to.

3.   Big Energy Saving Week focuses on raising awareness of energy and efficiency issues among the general public through joint working between the voluntary sector and energy suppliers.

4.   There will be local events across the UK during Big Energy Saving Week which will be run by a network of Citizens Advice Bureaux and volunteers that are part of the Big Energy Saving Network.

5.   Further advice and information can be found at Citizens Advice or call the Energy Saving Advice Service (England, Northern Ireland and Wales) on 0300 123 1234 or Home Energy Scotland (Scotland) on 0808 808 2282.