Jan 28 2013
Many of you are surely aware of the ways to save on energy costs. You may have read them in the newspapers, magazines or on the web or you may have heard them on the news aired on TV or the radio.
But more than knowing the usual methods, it’s also best to be aware of your consumer energy rights and other lesser known ways that can help you lower your electricity bills.
Being knowledgeable about your energy rights means being aware of what you are entitled to from your power company. For example, consumers have the right to be notified at least 30 days prior by a provider that plans to hike its rates. This grace period will allow those planning to switch power firms to do so without being penalized.
You may also inquire from your power company if they or the distributor pays consumers who experience blackouts for long hours. This is possible in the U.K. and the refunds are normally made as long as you report the blackouts.
Elderly and disabled consumers are also entitled to special services from the power supplier. In the U.S., this is covered under the Special Protections provision of the Consumer Guide for Residential Gas, Electric and Steam Customers. This provision allows the utility service to continue providing electricity for 30 days in case of a medical emergency and needs to be supported by a doctor’s certification.
In the U.K., the senior citizens, disabled and chronically ill can avail of extra support through the Priority Services Register of their supplier. Services they can avail of are free quarterly meter readings, free annual gas safety check and bills printed in large fonts or Braille or free delivery of bills to be sent to a relative or a friend.
If you’re experiencing financial difficulties, know that you are entitled to a deferred payment agreement with your utility provider. This will allow you to pay your overdue amount in a staggered basis. Take note, however, that the company will only agree to this if it is able to confirm your real financial situation after conducting its own investigation.
Additionally, you have the right to decline the payment agreement terms proposed by the company if you think the amount set is still high for you. Your supplier must accept any terms you propose based on your financial capability.
Photo via dexknows.com
About the guest author:
Job is a freelance copywriter and a strong consumer advocate. For more energy-saving tips, visit Duke Energy information.
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