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The right reflexes when the energy bill explodes

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On March 31, the end of the winter break marks the resumption of electricity and gas cuts for unpaid bills. In 2021, energy suppliers thus operated 785,000 cuts or reductions, up 17% compared to 2019. But how many in 2022, in a context where energy prices are soaring? “The first thing to do is to dare to contact your supplier to ask for a schedule. They will always prefer the customer to spread out their payments rather than pay nothing at all,” advises Caroline Keller, head of the information service of the National Energy Ombudsman, an independent public authority.

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Social services and associations

Second reflex: get closer to social services, in particular to apply for the Housing Solidarity Fund, managed by the departments. Under certain conditions, the consumer can file a file there to request assistance that will cover all or part of the debt. Social services may also support the customer’s request to obtain a timetable from the energy supplier’s “precariousness and solidarity correspondent”. “You should also not hesitate to call on Secours Catholique or Secours Populaire, as well as pension funds and the Family Allowance Fund”, says Caroline Keller.

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The specialist also advises comparing the offers of suppliers on the site of the National Energy Ombudsman. “Individuals are not engaged. Those who subscribed to an offer, interesting at the time, with an indexed price on the wholesale markets, for example, have every interest in finding out because prices are exploding. »

No need to terminate your current contract, just sign a new one and the changeover will take place in a few days. As for the 2022 energy check, allocated subject to means testing and for an average amount of €150, it will be sent automatically to the 5.8 million beneficiaries during the month of April.

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Adopt economical gestures

To lighten the bill, the Energy Transition Agency (Ademe) also recalls that lowering its heating by one degree reduces the bill by 7%. Unplugging appliances, rather than leaving them on standby, would save up to 10% on the electricity bill (excluding heating). Other useful actions: put a lid on the pans during cooking, use the “eco” programs of washing machines and dishwashers, or even lower the temperature of your water heater to 55-60°C.

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