Energy bills are very expensive, especially during the winter months. However, it doesn’t have to be that way. There are many tricks that you can follow to cut your utility bills and save money on gas and electricity.
According to Ofgem, the average household could knock £300 a year off their energy bills by switching supplier. It doesn’t take long to do and isn’t complicated, so it’s worth looking into if you want to save money.
Call your supplier or go to their website to look at the tariffs they have available. Your energy bill must include personalised information about your supplier’s cheapest tariff and how much you could save, as well as estimated costs for the next year.
Switching supplier is simple and can save you hundreds of pounds. Anyone who pays their own energy bills can switch, whether you rent or own your home. There may be clauses about switching in some tenancy agreements, but if you pay the energy bills, you should not have a problem being able to choose the supplier.
Those with prepayment meters can switch too, even with negative balances of up to £500. It should take less than 17 days from start to finish, and your supply will not be cut off at any point. Use comparison sites to source the best deals. The comparison sites don’t all work with the same suppliers, so in order to cover as much of the market as possible use a selection of comparison sites.
Look out for comparison sites offering incentives such as vouchers for switching with them. It might be worth factoring this into your decision if the financial incentive is big enough.
Use Less Energy
Once you have maximised your savings through getting the best deal, here are some top tips on using less energy.
- Set a timer on the central heating so that it only comes on when needed.
- Turn down the thermostat – a 1°C reduction could save you 10% off your heating bill.
- Close your curtains at night to stop heat escaping through the windows.
- Use draft excluders at doors.
- Use energy-saving light bulbs – they last one times longer than regular bulbs.
- Turn off lights when you leave the room.
- Don’t leave appliances on standby or laptops and mobile phones on charge after they are fully charged.
- Always fill the washing machine, tumble dryer and dishwasher. Doing a full load uses less energy than doing two smaller loads.
- Wash your clothes at 30° if they’re not visibly dirty.
- Fill the kettle with the right amount of water that you need.
- Dry your clothes outside in warmer weather.
Visit the Energy Saving Trust’s website for more tips and information on using less energy. Make Your Home Energy Efficient
Home improvements like better insulation can lower your energy bills. You could also look into grants and benefits for home heat and insulation. The Energy Savings Advice Service and Home Energy Scotland are national helplines to advise on benefits, subsidies for home insulation reduced tariffs and special payment options.
You could also use the government’s energy grants calculator. It may be worth researching the government energy efficiency schemes that could potentially help to pay for home improvements.
Get a free home energy check from the Energy Saving Trust. It takes less than 10 minutes and could save you up to £250 a year on your energy bills.
Warm Home Discount
Some energy suppliers offer discounts to disabled people, pensioners, people with severe health problems and those on a low income. Call your supplier to see if you qualify for the warm home discount.
Winter Fuel Payment
You could receive up to £300 to help pay your heating bills if you were born on or before 5 January 1952. If you get the State Pension or another social security benefit you usually qualify for a Winter Fuel Payment automatically. If you qualify but do not receive your winter fuel payment, you will need to make a claim. Call the Winter Fuel Payment helpline on 08459 151515, to see if you qualify.
Payment method discounts
Switching to a direct debit payment can get you a discount with many energy providers if you are currently paying cash, prepayment or other payment methods. This way you can save money, and you have the convenience of an automatic payment system so that you don’t forget to pay your bill.