By Maximilian Clarke

Inflation jumped by half a percent during September as energy companies hiked bills by a further £100, the Office for National Statistics confirmed.

This will add to the UK’s dwindling consumer spending power, in turn leading to a further erosion of business confidence. In order minimise energy costs, therefore boosting spending power, Consumer Focus have made the following recommendations:

CHECK if there’s a cheaper way to pay — you could save the most money by paying by Direct Debit, or moving to an online or dual fuel tariff. Monthly direct debit is on average £100 cheaper per year than paying by cash or cheque. If you pay by cash or cheque your supplier will be writing to you over the next few months to let you know if they can offer you a cheaper deal.

SWITCH to a cheaper energy tariff or energy firm — you may be able to save up to £200 off your annual bill by shopping around for a different supplier, particularly if you have never changed energy firm. An accredited switching website or phone line can help you to find the best deal — with a wider range of tariff offers which may give a better saving than switching on your doorstep. You can also contact energy suppliers directly.

and INSULATE your home — every supplier is offering free or cut price deals for loft insulation, cavity wall insulation and other measures. Full loft and cavity wall insulation could help stop your home leaking heat and save you more than £100 per year on your energy bill.

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