Hot under the collar - and everywhere else!

18th July 2014

How is the heat wave treating you? Have you been on the beach, dipping your feet into the children’s paddling pool, getting out in the garden or just lying down with the curtains closed to stop that pesky sun reaching you? You may even have the air conditioning on, though, honestly, in the UK, it never seems hot enough for long enough to justify such a thing.

We all find different ways of cooling down, and when the weather’s like this, it can be very easy to forget that the seasons will roll around and we’ll be back in the world of winter heating bills before too long.

I may sound like a party-pooper when you’re trying to enjoy the summer, but it’s always worth checking how much you’ve been spending on bills. The problem is, it can be very difficult to compare year on year. It’s become ever easier to switch suppliers, and the new provider won’t have any of your records, meaning you are the only one who really knows your usage history. And without a paper bill that you can file and check, it’s quite difficult to know what you’ve actually been spending in previous seasons, so you can work out whether and why you’ve been using more or less energy. Taking control of finances has to be your own responsibility – yet we are increasingly having that control wrested from our hands by companies refusing to give us, or making us pay, to have bills and statements on paper.

You may be one of the people who manages perfectly well comparing your usage online, but for the rest of us – particularly the 44 per cent who don’t feel their financial records are complete without a paper statement – we should be able to choose to have that information in the form we want it, without coughing up even more money.

Judith Donovan