In the UK gas bills have risen by an average of 18% in 2004, with electricity bills rising by close to 14%. The government has launched the Energy Smart campaign, run by UK regulator Ofgem and consumer watchdog body energywatch, to encourage customers to switch energy supplier and improve the energy efficiency of their homes.

Households that switch could save up to £100 a year on fuel bills, with energy efficient measures such as cavity wall insulation saving a further £35 a year. At least half the UK’s householders have never switched supplier, and the Energy Smart campaign stresses that there are still opportunities to save money by switching.

Consumers who want to switch can get advice from energywatch, which registered a 28% increase in calls to its office after British Gas announced price hikes for both gas and electricity. Utilities such as npower have launched a price-based advertising campaign encouraging customers to compare prices and change supplier.

www.energywatch.org.uk