Heating our homes, boiling our kettles and watching the TV all use energy – energy that we have to pay for!
Who you get your energy from and how you pay your bills can affect costs.
The best way to keep the bills down is simply to use less energy. Here are some tips:
- Turn down the thermostat on the heating and wear jumpers
- Turn lights off when you leave a room and use energy-saving light bulbs
- Defrost the fridge and check it's not on too high
- Don't leave electrical goods on standby. If it’s warm or has a light on, it’s using energy that you’re paying for and this could be costing you £30 a year
- Shut doors between rooms
- Boil a kettle with only as much water as you need
- Cover pots and pans when cooking so they boil faster
- Use a microwave to heat up small amounts of food
- Wash clothes at 30 degrees, unless they're really grubby
- Run your washing machine (and dishwasher) with a full load
- Get into the habit of switching off lights every time you leave a room.
Dual fuel isn’t always cheapest
Dual fuel means you get your gas and electricity from the same company. It’s often cheaper than signing up to separate gas and electric companies, but not always. Compare costs by looking at energy comparison websites like comparethemarket.com, moneysupermarket.com and uswitch.com
Pay by monthly direct debit
Setting up direct debit payments with your bank or credit union could save you 5-10%. These pay your bills automatically every month and because companies know you won't miss a payment they charge you less. They pay you back any overpayment at the end of the year.
Do a meter reading every time
Every time you get a bill, take a meter reading and contact your energy supplier with it - don't just rely on their estimate as they’re often wrong. If they’ve under-estimated, you'll have a big bill to pay at the end of the year, if they’ve over-estimated they've unfairly got your cash. If the bill is wrong, your supplier should change your bill. You should also change your direct debit amount by speaking to your bank or credit union.
Switch to online billing
Most energy companies offer online billing/tariffs. This means you get your bills emailed to you instead of posted. Switch and you will usually save up to 10% over the standard tariff.
Avoid pre-payment meters if you can
They cost more than paying by direct debit. Find out if you can switch to a billed meter - you may have to pay to get one but the savings are usually worth it.
Check out the Warm Home Discount scheme
If you’re on a low income, you might be able to get a discount of £140 on your energy bills through the Government’s Warm Home Discount. It’s definitely worth checking it out. You can find out more here.
Get free loft insulation
Good loft insulation can save you up to £150 on your fuel bill, according to British Gas. You can claim free loft insulation if you get certain benefits or tax credits or if you live in low-income areas. Find out more here.
Consider a financial hardship tariff
If you're having money troubles some companies offer special tariffs, which help. Don’t assume these will be the cheapest though - check the cheapest tariffs online as they often beat many hardship deals.