Energy bills for 15 million households will increase by at least £139 from October due to a rise in wholesale prices after Ofgem, the UK’s energy regulator, announced the hike earlier this month.
The UK’s watchdog said that energy customers on default tariffs paying by direct debit will see the sharpest jump in prices since the cap was introduced, taking average bills to £1,277 per year. Pre-payment customers will see costs rise by £153, from £1,156 to £,1309.
Ofgem said the increase has been driven by a rise of more than 50 per cent in energy costs over the last six months, with gas prices hitting a record high as inflation jumped amid the easing of pandemic restrictions.
Currently EDF, SSE and OVO have confirmed the 12% price increase from October 1, with E.on and Scottish Power expected to follow suit soon.
To help households across the UK manage the increase to their fuel bills this year, energy expert, Kevin Pratt, from price comparison and financial guidance platform, Forbes Advisor, has shared his 12 top tips.
Following the 12 tips below could potentially save households an impressive £1,533 per year.
1. Switch off standby – £30 per year
Remembering to turn appliances off to standby mode could save households around £30 each year.
Most electrical and electronic appliances are safe to turn off at the plug without it affecting their programming – although it is best to check the user manual to be sure. You could even consider using a ‘standby saver’ that turns all devices off in one go.
You will also save electricity by not leaving laptops and mobile phones charging unnecessarily and by unplugging charger cables when they are not in use.
2. Take care in the kitchen – £36 per year
As well as turning plugs off at the socket, using kitchen appliances more carefully could save you around £36 each year.
This is broken down as follows:
- Using a bowl to wash up rather than running a tap can save £25 a year
- Reducing how much you use your washing machine by just one cycle a week can save £5 a year
- Filling the kettle with only the amount of water you need can save £6 a year
Further money can be saved by taking simple steps such as using the kettle to boil water rather than a pan on the hob, ensuring saucepans fully cover the ring on the hob, batch cooking meals and turning the oven off a few minutes before your food has finished cooking.
3. Switch to energy-efficient appliances – £275 per year
If you are replacing appliances such as a fridge, dishwasher, washing machine or tumble dryer, try to choose one with a high energy efficiency rating.
All new appliances must have an energy efficiency certificate which rates appliances from A+++ to G. The highest and most efficient rating is A+++, while the lowest is G. These ratings are based on the amount of energy each appliance uses, so the higher the rating, the fewer units of energy it uses (measured in kilowatt hours or kWh).
Research by consumer group Which? shows that swapping ‘power-guzzling’ kitchen appliances for more efficient ones could save households up to £275 annually.
4. Use your thermostat with care – £80 per year
Simply turning down your thermostat by one degree can reduce heating bills by £80 a year. It can also be worth investing in a smart thermostat so that only the rooms you are using are heated.
Smart thermostats learn how long it takes for your home to warm up so that the heating comes on at the right time and you can often set different temperatures for different rooms.
You can usually operate smart thermostats remotely via your mobile phone, tablet or laptop so you can alter your heating on the go – which can be handy if you’ve left home but forgotten to turn off the heating.
5. Replace your shower head – £70 per year
According to the Energy Saving Trust, if you have a shower that takes hot water from your boiler or hot water tank (rather than an electric shower), switching to a water efficient shower head will reduce your hot water usage and save you a decent sum of money.
In fact, a four-person household could save as much as £70 a year on gas for water heating, as well as a further £115 a year on water bills if you have a water meter.
6. Spend less time in the shower – £75 per year
As well as changing your shower head, reducing the amount of time you spend in the shower by just one minute every day can slice up to £7 off your annual energy bill, per person.
If you have a water meter, you could save an additional £12 on your water and sewerage bills each year. So for a family of four, you’re looking at a potential annual saving of £75 in total.
7. Replace your boiler – £315 per year
If your boiler is more than 15 years old, it’s probably worth replacing it with a more modern energy-efficient A-rated model. All modern boilers are condensing boilers which means they have a larger heat exchanger and make better use of the heat they generate from burning fuels such as oil or gas.
The Energy Saving Trust says replacing a G-rated gas boiler with an A-rated one, plus installing thermostatic radiator valves, typically costs around £2,300 but could save you up to £315 a year.
8. Stop draughts – £20 per year
Reducing how much heat escapes from your home is an easy way to save money on your energy bills. As well as using draught-excluders on the bottom of doors, consider putting draught-proofing strips around window frames and sealing cracks in floors and skirting boards. This could save you £20 each year.
If you have a chimney you don’t use, consider installing a chimney draught excluder which could save you a further £15 a year.
9. Switch to LEDs – £35 per year
Using LED spotlights or compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) can also reduce the amount you spend on energy as they use far less electricity than standard bulbs. LEDs are now bright enough to replace halogen bulbs and they come in a wide range of shapes, sizes and fittings.
Replacing all the bulbs in your home with LEDs would cost around £100 but it would also save you around £35 a year.
10. Turn lights off – £14 per year
Switching lights off around the home when they are not in use can save around £14 a year. The Energy Saving Trust says that switching off a light for just a few seconds will save more energy than it takes for the light to start up again, no matter what type of light it is.
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11. Insulate your walls and loft – £255 per year
A quarter of heat is lost through the roof in an uninsulated home and about a third through the walls. It’s therefore worth considering whether you’re happy to spend a few hundred pounds getting a professional in to fully insulate your property.
Insulating your loft could save you up to £225 a year, depending on the property, while cavity wall insulation could save you up to £255 a year.
12. Switch energy supplier – £328 per year
Finally, it’s worth regularly comparing energy tariffs to see whether you can switch to a better deal, which could save consumers a minimum of £328.
It only takes around 10 minutes to find a new tariff and the whole process of switching shouldn’t take any longer than 21 days.
Choosing a fixed-rate tariff can be a good option as you will be sheltered from price rises for the length of the deal. Consumers can compare tariffs to find the cheapest deal on the Forbes website here.
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