Energy bill ignorance costs over £400

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Gas meterGas and electricity bills make up a terrifying proportion of our everyday spending. For anyone who has yet to make the decision to give up heating their home, it's easy to spend £1,000 or more a year on these bills. So it's particularly worrying that we haven't a clue how much we're spending, what we're spending it on, and whether or not we're on a good deal.

As a result we're wasting up to £400 a year.

A survey by moneysupermarket.com found that only 38% of people know how much they are spending on energy each year. And while a quarter claim to have a rough idea, over 20% who pay monthly have no idea of the total cost of their bill for the year with a further 16% revealing that they had no idea at all of their energy costs.

The cost of ignorance
The problem with ignorance in this market is that if you don't keep an eye on your tariff, it can easily shoot through the roof undetected. Energy companies have been introducing price increases well in excess of 10%. Those who know what they are paying have a chance of spotting this before it's too late. Those who are in the dark may well drift into paying well over the odds.

The figures also revealed just what an uncompetitive tariff can cost you over an average year. The most expensive tariff at the moment will set you back an astonishing £1,391 compared to the current cheapest at around £980 - that's a pointless overspend of £411 a year, and who among us can claim to have that sort of cash burning a hole in our pockets?

What can you do?
Given the money involved, we can't afford ignorance. Of course, being the kind of nerd who knows the cost of their bills to the exact penny is never going to be the sort of life you once dreamed of, but in the current economic climate we all have to be nerds. We need to get to know what we're spending on what. We need to understand our bills and our usage. We need to shop around and check we're getting a good deal. Because while it may not be the most thrilling couple of hours of your life it may well be the most rewarding.

If you really can't bear to face your bills, then at the very least Scott Byrom, utilities manger at moneysupermarket.com says you need to follow the rough rule of thumb that: "For a medium user, if you pay more than £37 for your electricity and more than £51 for your gas per month, then you are potentially paying too much and should be looking to switch to a better tariff."

But we can do better than that. Come on, embrace your inner nerd, get to know your energy bill, and stop wasting hundreds of pounds through ignorance.

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