With the cost of electricity from one major supplier going up by 12.5 per cent this September, following price rises from the other big suppliers earlier this year, as well the onset of autumn with longer nights and cooler temperatures, I and no doubt other Swindon residents are acutely conscious of just how much our energy bills are these days.

That’s why this is the perfect time for the council to launch our autumn drive to help residents look at switching opportunities and drive down their bills using Swindon Energy Matters.

Energy bills are challenging at the best of times, but some people may not realise that switching energy supplier could save up to £616 a year, with the chance of getting cashback of up £30 for an online switch, or £22 for switching via the helpline.

The Swindon Energy Matters campaign has been developed by our energy efficiency team and Swindon Money Matters to help people seize control of their energy bills, whether they have a credit or pre-payment (Pay As You Go) meter.

It’s so easy these days to switch energy supplier and reduce our energy tariffs, and Swindon Energy Matters exists to help residents do just that, with minimum hassle and the chance to save some cash.

We know that plenty of Swindon residents are paying more for their energy than necessary because they don’t switch energy provider. Out of the 10,500 or so council homes, a high proportion of these council tenants are on ‘pay as you go’ tariffs.

This means they could be spending more on their energy than they really need to and it’s likely the same applies to other Swindon residents. There are deals out there for ‘pay as you go’ customers, and even better savings could be achieved by changing to a credit meter.

The campaign is focused on all Swindon residents, whether they are in council accommodation, own their own homes or rent privately, and we want to really help households get better value for their fuel. The campaign is trying to reach out to people who might not think of tariff switching, or have barriers to switching such as debt.

But our initiative can offer plenty more benefits - as part of the council’s wider Affordable Warmth programme, the campaign is also about helping residents heat their homes better and allay poor health, free up valuable income for other vital expenses and increase the take-up of Warm Home Discount payments. As regards our council tenants, we want to help make their housing as affordable as possible to improve quality of life and avoid falling into rent arrears.

It’s never been easier to switch energy supplier so I would encourage everyone to go to www.swindon.gov.uk/swindonenergymatters or phone 0800 093 3218 and see how they can reduce their energy bills.