Energy bills: Cancelling direct debits is risky says expert
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The 45-year-old entrepreneur used to provide energy services to law firms but has now created an app that works with people’s smart meters. Some users have used it to slash their energy bills by 25 percent.
News that energy bills are on course to surge to £4,266 a year in January for the average UK household will be worrying for many Britons who are already struggling.
While smart meters have been designed to help people lower their energy bills, not everyone wants to constantly stand over them to monitor their usage.
Former lawyer Ben Dhesi has created an app to work with smart meters so that people can check their data from their phone to see where they can make savings.
Mr Dhesi said: “Households having to choose between heating and eating is a national emergency that needs addressing immediately – there are over 5 million people being forced to go hungry in our own country.”
He continued: “Energy prices are showing no signs of going down any time soon, so there needs to be a way for households to be more engaged with how much energy they’re using so they can save money.
“The UK government attempted to get households more engaged with their energy usage by rolling out smart meters with ‘In Home Displays’, and my previous work made me realise how powerful smart meter data really is when you engage with it.
“But the truth is – who is really regularly checking their smart meter?
“Unless you’re standing right next to it, you won’t go out of your way to have a look.”
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Simply making the data available in a familiar format easily accessible from a smart phone can make all the difference, he says.
His HUGO Energy App has tabs for setting budgets and energy-saving advice which could save households up to £490 a year and it’s free to use.
He said: “Direct debit customers paying default tariffs saw their annual electric bills rise from £1,277 to £1,971 per year in April, based on average usage.
“We’ve seen savings of up to 25 percent- that’s £490 per year saved on electricity alone for households spending around £1,900 annually”.
He continued: “I knew the app would be useful when we were building it, but I’ve been taking phone calls from users telling me how much they’re relying on our app during this tough financial time for so many.
“The government has claimed that smart meters can shave up to 3 percent off energy bills by making households more aware of their usage – so far we’ve seen an average of 11 percent reductions in our users’ energy bills, with some showing savings of up to 25 percent just by making that data available in app format.
“That’s a massive win.
“Reducing the carbon footprint of all UK households by 10 percent would cost the government billions in renewable energy investment – but we can do it with a free app”.
Another little known hack which could save Britons £40 a month on energy bills is to use a slow cooker.
They say a 160W slow cooker can be used for 15 hours and 42 minutes for the same energy usage as one hour with a standard electric oven.
Another way to save money is by making the most of a food club, a Bristol resident told Express.co.uk how she gets £25 worth of food for just £3.50.
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