Parents on British Gas? Time for an intervention

Written by Lisa Stanley Mann on 14th Sep 2017

People don’t tend to behave rationally, psychologists will tell you, which is possibly the only way to explain why, despite the easiest way to cut your energy costs being to switch, as many as 45 per cent of Britons never have.

Many non-switchers are older.

If your parents and grandparents are still on British Gas, as research suggests they are likely to be, it’s time to stage an intervention. You could help get them on a cheaper, greener, 100 per cent renewable tariff before winter sets in.

Our own research in this guide, Can You Green My Bills, shows that in many cases green tariffs can actually COST LESS than fossil-based standard tariffs from the Big Six.

Renewable suppliers including Bulb (click here for £50 credit), Good Energy, EcotricityOctopus Energy, Green Star and M&S Energy. All 100 per cent carbon emission free.

Our Star Switchers campaign highlights a number of people who’ve all switched energy provider over the past year and found it both super-easy and good for their pocket too.


These switchers include yours truly. Confession alert. I’d languished on my (not particularly sustainable provider’s standard variable tariff for about three years – coinciding with having two toddlers around and little time available) but made it one of my 2016 resolutions to switch.

I switched to Bulb, a new 100 per cent renewable provider. I wanted to be as good with my money as possible, so wanted a 100 per cent renewable tariff and one that would save me money as well. The deal with Bulb didn’t stop there. Not only was I able to take advantage of a special offer and net myself a £50 credit on my new bill, I was also able to pass this onto a number of friends too. And I’ve shaved about £60 per month off my bill. No brainer!

Research from Energy reveals 32 per cent of non-switchers haven’t done so because they think the process takes too long, 28 per cent think there’s too many questions to answer or information to provide and a quarter say the process is simply too complicated.

But in a recent study, the Competition and Markets Authority found that 70 per cent of the domestic customers of the six largest energy firms are still on the more expensive ‘default’ standard variable tariff.

Other research from Ofgem reveals switching energy is becoming more of a thing: a greater proportion of consumers found it easier to compare tariffs in 2016 (43 per cent) than in 2014 (37 per cent) and the proportion of consumers who are aware of all of their options in the energy market increased from 75 per cent in 2014 to 80 per cent in 2016.

People reckon they need to save an average of just under £300 per year to be encouraged to change their supplier or tariff. These expectations are similar to those from 2014, despite energy bills reducing for many consumers.


Here’s 7 tips to help you cut your energy costs today:

  • Switch to a renewable energy supply, although do remember most central heating is usually gas-powered, though some renewable suppliers are sourcing increasing amounts from biogas.
  • Check your meter regularly. And consider installing a smart meter – they’re free and could save you money.
  • Befriend your thermostat. 1c can make a big difference on bills so have it as low as you can tolerate.
  • And your timer. Try to have the heating on for a very short period, only when you need it most – make sure it’s not timed to come on during the day, when no-one is home.
  • Insert insulating foil reflectors down the back of your radiators to reflect heat back into the room and stop it being absorbed by walls and disappearing outside.
  • Draught excluders – round window and door seals, at the bottom of doors. Super cheap, super effective.

Visit Energy Saving Trust for more ideas.

And don’t forget about your parents and grandparents.

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