Are you worrying about fuel and heating charges? Here are some hint and tips that may lower your bills especially at this time where prices are going up.

First I wanted to put to bed any uncertainty about the right everyone has to changing your energy supplier. Unless your landlord is paying the bills for your energy supply you are entitled to choose whatever supplier you want – and also the right to change suppliers as much as you want.

Debt doesn’t stop you changing suppliers; as long as the debt doesn’t exceed £500, most suppliers will take you on, including those on a pre-paid meter. Payment plans must be flexible and take into account all the clients’ needs.

Please don’t hesitate to get in touch with your energy supplier and talk to them about your circumstances. Helplines are also available.

Next I want to dispel some myths about smart meters. They are not radioactive or damaging to our health. They cannot hear what we say or record our conversations. Their primary use is to make sure we do not get billed for gas and electricity we don’t use. I find my own smart meter indispensable.

You can minimise your energy usage, and therefore your bills, in lots of ways. Turning down your temperature by one degree when using your heating saves at least £60 a year. Replacing your old lightbulbs with LED ones when they blow saves around £40 a year. Turning off your electrical items when finished using them could save you £50 a year. There’s a saving of £150 straight away without costing you a penny.

Insulating your loft could save you a huge £215+ a year and energy companies have all kinds of grants, interest free loans and savings to help you with this process.

Never switch off radiators entirely; always keep a background heat in every room in your house. You could also have throw covers to be snuggled up under when watching TV.

Please also contact your housing officer as there are grants available for tenants who need them.

Here are some useful sources of help and advice:

Home Energy Scotland: 0808 808 2282 or homeenergyscotland .org

Gheat (Glasgow Home Energy Advice Team): 08000 929 002 or g-heat.orguk

Energy Advice: simpleenergy

Energy Grants: scottishenergy

Citizens Advice Scotland: 0131 550 1000 or

Turn2Us: 08088022000 or

National Debt Line: 0808 808 4000 or

Step Change Scotland: 0800 652 7491 or