To anyone in a bill paying household, the news that energy bills have risen sharply over the last few years will come as no surprise at all. In fact, energy prices have gone up around 151 per cent since 2004, making the average UK bill an estimated £800 more expensive than before.
Most of us feel the pain of our energy bills on a monthly basis, with the average UK family paying more than £100 a month to their supplier. Despite repeated calls for the suppliers to cut their prices, it doesn’t look as if there will be any significant reduction any time soon. In fact, some are even warning that since Brexit, we should be poised for our energy costs to be hiked once again.
It seems certain that, if we’re serious about getting our energy bills under control, we need to take matters into our own hands. Here are 10 simple ways you can bust your bills today, at little or no cost to you.
1. Switch supplier: You could be paying up to £330 too much if you haven’t switched supplier in the last year or so. Lots of companies can help you compare prices and switch, so spend a little time comparing offers from different suppliers to get a better deal.
2. Book a Green Deal survey: A Green Deal Assessor can visit your home and discuss your energy use as well as inspecting the building. From this they will provide you with a full and detailed report on ways in which you could save energy, as well as information on any financial assistance available to you.
3. Change your lightbulbs: Replacing just one incandescent lightbulb with a modern LED alternative would save you around £7.50 a year. These bulbs are designed to last up to 20 years with normal use, so will save you money on buying replacements too.
4. Turn down your thermostat: When the heating is on, switching your thermostat down by just one degree could save you up to £90 a year, according to the Energy Saving Trust. You can turn radiators in unused rooms down as well, and get to know your heating controls better to make sure you are using them effectively.
5. Keep the heat in: Insulating your property is a no brainer. Stopping the heat from escaping through the roof and walls could save you up to £300 a year, and with help from schemes like the Green Deal and ECO, you could end up paying very little for it, or having it done free of charge.
6. Upgrade your heating: Heating accounts for around 40% of our total spend on energy here in the UK, so anything you can do to improve the efficiency of this will make you significant savings. Replacing your old, inefficient boiler with a new A rated model and modern heating controls could save you up to £340 a year.
If you have electric heating, consider switching from storage heaters to modern electric radiators which can help you cut down your energy usage with high precision thermostats and daily heating programming.
7. Choose energy efficient appliances: When it comes time to replace your appliances, choosing the most energy efficient model will be money well invested. White goods and other appliances all have energy labels in the shops, which gives them a rating between G and A+++ depending on their efficiency, with G being the worst. Upgrading an inefficient washing machine with an A rated model could save £39 a year, and doing the same for your fridge freezer could save you £62 a year.
8. Switch off standby: With more gadgets than ever before, the temptation to leave things sitting in standby mode has never been greater. However, these silent energy guzzlers could be adding more to your bill than you think. The Energy Saving Trust reckons UK households could save on average £30 a year just by switching things off at the plug, with some gadget loving households being able to save a lot more.
9. Get a water saving shower head: Showering liberally each day could be unnecessarily adding £67 a year to your energy bills, not to mention around £100 to your water bill if you’re metered. Installing a water saving shower head is cheap and easy, and it will instantly cut down your hot water usage, saving you money without spoiling your shower.
10. Understand your energy bill: Research has shown around four million households have been overcharged on their energy bills. Applying the wrong tariff, adding incorrect fees and even getting their bill mixed up with someone else’s has happened to a surprising number of people. For this reason, you should always check your bill thoroughly before paying it, and ensure you are not being incorrectly billed for any reason.
Getting your energy bills under control needn’t be an arduous task. Sometimes just a little more thought and a commitment to change habits is all that it takes to really make a difference. Start with the small things, the easy things and the things that don’t cost money, and work your way up to a smaller bill and a more sustainable future.