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Consumer Expert Reveals £300 Money-Saving Energy Bill Hacks

September 20, 2021, 12:00 PM
  • Consumers may be concerned about rising wholesale gas prices
  • Smaller UK companies have revealed they’re at risk of going bust, leaving consumers uncertain about the future of their bills
  • Consumer expert Tom Church reveals how to reduce your energy bills
  • His tips include tricks to save around £300 a year

There is worrying news on the horizon for consumers, as around 15 million households are reportedly set to see their energy bills increase from next month. Energy regulator Ofcom has predicted that those on standard tariffs could see their bills increase by £139, and those coming to the end of their fixed tariff may not be able to secure another cheap deal with their supplier.

Tom Church, Co-Founder of money-saving community LatestDeals.co.uk, said: ‘Consumers should keep an eye on their energy bills over the coming weeks, as potential price increases could cripple budgets. Gas supplies have been affected by factors such as a cold winter in Europe and competition to get hold of liquefied natural gas shipments.

‘Unfortunately, one of the consequences of gas supplies being more scarce is that smaller UK energy companies are potentially going bust, and this news will undoubtedly be causing concern for consumers who are signed up with these suppliers. Fortunately, there are measures you can take to ensure you keep getting value for money - whether you switch or stay with your existing supplier.’

Tom shared seven tips to help households save on their energy bills:

1)Keep an eye on your balance and meter readings. If you regularly give your provider meter readings, you are ensuring that you aren’t overpaying. Those who take a ‘hands-off’ approach and let their supplier give them a bill each month are only receiving an estimation. If your bill says ‘estimate’, then there’s a good chance you’re overpaying. Take a meter reading and compare it to your bill. If you haven’t used as much energy as your bill is estimating, get in touch with your supplier - they will amend the bill for you! Another good idea is using a smart meter, as you can keep an eye on your energy usage.

‘If you discover your supplier has gone bust, rest assured that you won’t have your electricity and gas cut off. Ofgem will move your account over to another supplier, but the process could take a little time. While you wait for an update, keep an eye on your balance, download your bills (or keep your physical letters in a safe place) and take a photo of your meter reading. This means you can make sure you aren’t charged the wrong amount for your next bill when your new supplier gets in touch.

2) Check your tariffs. According to research from Ofgem and the BBC, 11 million UK households are on the standard tariff. This may not be the best option - depending on your supplier, choosing a fixed tariff could be the best value deal. While you need to sign a contract for a set period of time, such as 12 months, you also won’t have to deal with energy prices going up until the end of your contract. This style of tariff is also ideal for those who have a fixed budget, as you can schedule a Direct Debit and easily predict how much will be leaving your account. Alternatively, those who plan their energy usage could go for a multi rate or economy tariff - this means that prices are higher during the day and lower at night. This tariff is great for people who want to pay less for electricity when they use the dishwasher, washing machine or charge their electric car overnight.

However, at this unprecedented time of energy crisis and the way Ofgem calculates the price cap, you may find that being on a standard variable tariff (if you sign up in September 2021) may be a cheaper option during the next 6 months until April 2022. This is because Ofgem uses the average price of energy in the 6 months prior to changes, and had not taken into account the most recent swings of price rises.

3) Buy energy efficient appliances. Although an upfront cost is involved in buying anything new, you will typically find that it pays for itself in energy bill savings over time. This is because old appliances generally use more energy than newer ones, which are designed to run more efficiently. Take a look at the energy rating when you’re in the market for a new appliance such as a washing machine. All appliances come with a rating between A and G. A is the most efficient, while G is the least efficient. It’s also a good idea to get into the habit of switching your appliances off, instead of leaving them on standby. If you turn off everything not in use, you could save around £30 a year. Investing in a standby wall timer can help to automate the process if you tend to forget - this device will switch everything off in one go.

4) Make your home more efficient. There are several measures you can take to prevent your home from wasting energy. For example, homes without double glazed windows will lose more heat, resulting in a higher heating bill. Getting these windows means you won’t have to keep the thermostat up as high during the colder months - and it will also keep noise out, so you can enjoy a better night’s sleep! It’s also worth considering loft insulation, as heat will rise and escape via the roof. Investing in a professional installation will pay off in the coming years - you could save around £100 a year. What’s more, if you already have loft insulation, you could get it topped up to make it even more effective.

5)Find out if you’re entitled to free kit. Some may not be aware, but the government has a range of home-energy grants available. For example, the UK’s Energy Company Obligations scheme requires energy suppliers to help lower-income households with their money-saving energy methods. You could be entitled to free loft insulation if you’re eligible, so it’s worth doing some research and finding out. Alternatively, you may be able to borrow money for boilers, insulation or double glazing thanks to The Green Deal.

6)Get into good habits. Lots of small energy-saving habits will add up and result in lower bills, so why not start adjusting the way you operate at home? For example, hang up your clothes wherever possible to avoid using a dryer, and put the laundry on with a cooler wash. You can also wait until the washing machine is full to reduce the amount of washes you put on. Similarly, shower instead of having a bath where possible to reduce the amount of hot water you use, and put lids on your pots when you’re cooking so that food is heated more quickly. Popping on a jumper and wooly socks is a free and sure way to warm you up without having to put the heating on.’

7) Adjust your thermostat. A little change could go a long way, as the Energy Saving Trust has revealed that consumers can save £60 and 310kg of carbon dioxide a year by turning their thermostat down by just one degree. Generally speaking, homes should be at least 18C according to Public Health England, so there’s no need to turn it down too much. It’s a good idea to set your heating to turn on when you need it - for example, in mornings and evenings. You can also make use of the radiator valves to ensure it only comes on in the rooms you will benefit from the most, such as the bathroom and living room.’

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