Householders received good and bad news on their energy bills this week.
Energy firm E.On announced that it would raise prices for dual fuel customers by 8.7% next month, but Ofgem confirmed that the feed-in tariff (FiT) rates for solar panels would remain the same from February 1 next year and would not be reduced as feared.
“Neither decision is a great surprise,” said Stourbridge energy adviser Colin Priest, “but the price increase is still a blow for residents who are already paying on average £1,200 a year for gas and electricity.
“With the news coming just before Christmas and the cold weather ahead it is very disappointing, but people need to look at ways to improve their home and save energy,” added Colin, who lives in Quarry Bank and works for Noreus Ltd in Stafford.
E.On had promised that it would not change prices before the end of 2011, which prevented any announcement before the start of December.
This week it announced that electricity prices would go up on January 18, 2013, by 7.7%, but gas-only customers would face average rises of 9.4%.
“We have held back from increasing our prices for as long as we possibly could and at the same time have worked hard to reduce our own costs as a business so that our customers can get the best price possible,” said Tony Cocker, E.On chief executive.
E.On’s decision follows on from SSE who put up both gas and electricity prices by 9% on October 15; British Gas 6% on both on November 16; npower 8.8% gas and 9.10% electricity on November 26, Scottish Power 7% on December 3 and EDF 10.8% on December 7.
However, the Feed-in Tariffs scheme, which is the money given to residents who install solar panels and receive payment for the electricity generated, will now stay at 15.44p per kilowatt hour (Kwh) for the average home with systems smaller than 4 kilowatt until at least May 1, 2013. This is topped up with the Export Tariff, which adds an extra 4.5p per KWh for electricity exported to the Grid.
“Although this is a smaller return than a year ago,” said Colin, “householders have to remember that the installation costs have fallen considerably since then and that the revenue earned is tax free and index linked for 20 years. Also it can give householder a return of nearly 10 per cent on their investment with the reduced capital investment required.”
But he said residents can reduce their energy bills. He suggests having cavity wall and loft insulation installed as a home can lose a quarter of its heat through a roof which is not insulated.
Colin advises having your loft spray foamed with the Icynene Insulation System which is environmentally friendly and non toxic and reduces heating bills by up to 50 per cent.
For more details about how to cut gas and electricity bills and a free home thermal efficiency photograph to show where a house is losing most energy call Colin on 0845 474 6641.