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EP54- Female Financial Independence Series: What’s next for your electricity and gas bills

I am here with Jo Gilbert who worked in the UK gas and electric industry for 22 years. She’s an entrepreneur, multiple business owner and investor in May 2018. She has been featured in Bloomsburg utility week energy, live news, new energy magazine, and many other industry facing publications. She spoke in Parliament, and also provided evidence to the Welsh Assembly for poverty and energy security. She has launched and supported several UK energy companies to the market in her role as an industry expert, business strategist and consultant. Today, we are talking about what’s next for your electricity & gas bills and see what tips she’s got for us as well as what we should be doing next.

Everybody is now aware that the price rise is coming from the first of April. The general consensus is, take the reading on the 31st of March by taking a photograph of your meter so that you’re assured you are only billed for the usage that you’ve used up to that date, and make sure that gets sent in to your own supplier. 

Another option is on the 30th of March, find an energy supplier to switch to because according to supplier license condition 23, which is all about tariffs and how price changes are handled in the notification of those price changes, supply will honor your current prices during the change of supplier, which can take up to 21 days to complete. So if you switched energy supply on the 31st of March, your new price cap rates wouldn’t apply until the 20th or 21st of April which gives you 3 weeks delay in receiving price increase.

What can you do to improve your billing?

Install smart meters. Smart metering is really helpful for energy saving. With a smart meter, you can be individually profiled as a customer in terms of what your usage habits are. And then tailor tariffs that are more specific to you and your family’s needs.

Get your account built to an actual reading.

If you pay by direct debit, make sure that your direct debit is adequate for your usage profile.

If you’re already paying off a debt, and your consumption now is going off, ask for extended payment terms or even a payment break on any debt that you’re paying back. Speak to the energy supplier. Don’t go quiet on them. Have an open dialogue with your energy supplier if you can get through.

Find deals on energy suppliers’ websites such as Utility Warehouse but make sure to go direct and ask the energy supplier what they’re offering at the moment. Be aware of where you are purchasing your energy from. The best policy is go and do the shopping around on the price comparison website. That’s useful. But don’t buy through price comparison websites, go and buy direct from the energy supplier instead.

People can start by assessing how to manage the risk. You can fix and pay somebody to manage the risk for you. You can stay on the standard variable rate tariff, which is the price cap tariff. This means “the more you use, the more you pay” where the actual rate is calculated every 6 months taking into account all kinds of things that make up an energy bill, like the cost of wholesale, the cost of distribution and transmission and all of the network costs. 

There are a lot of agencies and advisors you can reach out to when seeking for help to manage your accounts and make sure that you are paying at an accurate rate. One of which is The Butterfly Energy.

The company is launching two new service offerings. The first is known simply as cubes, which stands for Custom Utility Bills, Expertly Service. CUBES service customers who are in fuel poverty, and are looking at doing things differently. CUBES is actually an account management service.

The consumer gives a letter of authority to manage their accounts and make sure it’s tip top condition. If there’s something that needs action, CUBES takes action on it, be it new or existing struggles. Account management covers looking at debit account amounts, credit balances, etc. Even when customers move homes, arrangements are taken care of. So the monthly bill is checked by CUBES against a number of points to ensure accuracy.  

Another service to launch is called Butterfly Builder. So the builder is focused on renewable energy which covers the installation of solar panels. The service is looking at installation on private homes and businesses. With issues right now such as prices rising, the goal is to move away from the easy option of moving to dirty energy. That’s why the builder’s solution has been designed for women with that sector in mind, so that energy bills are reduced ethically.

Listen to the full podcast here.

You can check out Jo’s books, Strength & Power: Adversity Makes Life Interesting, Overcoming it Makes it Meaningful and She Who Dares: A Collection Of Powerful Stories Written By The Female Founders Graduating From Female Success Network Class Of 2018 . Watch out for her upcoming book, Acid She Rises, launching on May 22nd.

Don’t forget to visit Butterfly page to know more info and get in touch with her too on Facebook and Linkedin

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