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Elderly people could be at risk of overpaying on energy bills

The cold snap is here to stay, for the foreseeable future at least. Naturally, our gas and electricity consumption is likely to climb as heating our homes and warding off the long winter nights becomes essential but the elederly could be at risk of overpaying on their energy bills this year.

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Elderly people could be at risk of overpaying on energy bills

The cold snap is here to stay, for the foreseeable future at least. Naturally, our gas and electricity consumption is likely to climb as heating our homes and warding off the long winter nights becomes essential but the elederly could be at risk of overpaying on their energy bills this year.

The older we get, the more our level of regular income declines and the more important it becomes to keep tabs on our utility bills, especially around this time of year. 

Many seniors are opting to switch supplier believing that changing provider can free up valuable funds, money that they can put towards the essentials that help them continue to live an independent life, such as affordable stairlifts or other mobility equipment.

Recent reports, however, suggest that elderly people are more at risk of overpaying on their energy bills, and the government is even considering adding a note into winter-fuel payment letters to encourage older people to switch. The problem occurs when people switch supplier and neglect to inform their banks to cancel payments to the previous provider, a necessity that hasn’t been made clear in their original terms of agreement.

The number of people changing supplier has grown with reports from energy firms expecting prolonged cold weather this winter could see gas and electricity prices double, prompting people to shop around and reduce their utilities.

It is thought that hundreds of thousands of people have been caught out by unnecessary overpayments. UK Power, among other independent price comparison services, are urging over 65s to check their bank statements and be vigilant if they think they may be overpaying on their energy bills.

Of course, switching supplier isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as long as customers ensure pre-existing providers are notified and payments cancelled. In fact, in many cases changing to another gas or electricity firm has brought about savings.

As with any other item it can pay to shop around, a custom that seniors are adept at. Just as you would assess the pros and cons of a certain insurance policy or make comparisons to decide which stairlift to opt for, choosing a provider that can support your needs is vital. Fortunately, Which? Offers a useful guide to switching energy supplier to help you determine if it’s a cost-efficient decision for your household.

Image Credit: Oliver Thompson (flickr.com)

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