Ways to save money on gas and electricity bills

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Three of the UK's "Big Six" energy suppliers have hiked their bills by up to 20% - meaning most families will face an extra £190 on their fuel bill this year.

Scottish and Southern Energy, Scottish Power and British Gas have all announced hikes on gas and electricity prices.

EDF Energy, Npower and E.ON are widely expected to follow suit.

As the "Big Six" supply 99% of the UK's energy, almost every household in the country will be affected.

But there are some simple ways to get cheaper gas and electricity bills.

First, try switching provider. Energy comparison websites can help you find the best deals for gas and electricity. In some cases, savings of £400 can be made just by moving energy suppliers. Six out of ten people are on single energy tariffs, but dual fuel schemes offer discounts. Make sure to explore all your options.

Secondly, use less energy. Turning off electrical items at the plug, investing in a new boiler, plugging draughts in doorways, floors and windows, getting double-glazing, installing wall cavity insulation and opting for energy-efficient appliances like freezers. Energy Saving Trust guidelines reckon you knock £250 off your bills this way.

Third, pay smart. Many utility companies will give discounts if you pay by Direct Debit. This could save you almost £200 a year.

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Click here to run an energy price comparison, and see if you could be paying less for your gas and electricity.

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