Laura Sandys MP - Save money on Energy... Join the big switch over

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We have all been in the grips of the Winter chill this week. Snow, ice and freezing winds have meant most of us have had to reach for our jumpers and crank-up the heating. But across Thanet, too many families are struggling to pay their energy bills.

Fuel poverty levels – where a bill is costing more than one tenth of a household income – is sadly an issue that I am encountering more and more in my weekly surgery. The news this week that the Big 6 energy suppliers increased their profit margins by 733% is therefore disgraceful and unjust. These profits mean each home across Thanet is shouldering an extra £110 - something is not right within the industry and much needs to change.

Under Labour, between 1997 and 2010, gas rose 71%, heating rose 130% and electricity rose 23%. After years of lack of scrutiny, the Coalition Government is starting to take the step of holding the companies to account. It’s also supporting the most vulnerable through the subsidised insulation scheme – The Green Deal – which is getting to grips with inefficient, expensive to heat, homes.

But in addition, I have recently been approached by Which? to serve as the Conservative Ambassador for their new ‘collective switching’ campaign. With 60,000 people across the country already signed up, Which? is aiming to draw on the benefits of economies of scale to achieve cheaper energy bills for customers. With February’s cold snap set to last a while longer, it’s time we all demanded more from the energy companies so do sign up at

Everything about the energy companies is so 1970s. They’re stuck in a time-warp, forgetting they’re providing a service to a customer, failing to find the best price package for the consumer and communicating energy usage in geeky terms such as a Megawatt hour. I have called on Ofgem – the energy regulator – to consider bringing in a new measure such as a ‘light-bulb hour’. All of us need to understand how much energy we’re using in human terms if we are to change our usage or switch provider.