Published On: Thu, May 25th, 2023
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Simple ways to save money on your energy bills | Personal Finance | Finance


Low power bulbs are one of several ways to reduce your energy bill

Low power bulbs are one of several ways to reduce your energy bill (Image: Panithan Pholpanichrassamee)

Over the last year, the UK Government has given people unprecedented support with rising bills, especially following the increase in the cost of living – and although they should ease as we move into summer, many households are eligible for further help.

Since October, the Energy Price Guarantee has limited the amount every household can be charged per unit of gas and electricity – and that will remain until June.

That means due to the Energy Price Guarantee and Energy Bills Support Scheme, the Government has covered around half of a typical household energy bill this winter, saving around £1,500 by the end of June.

People on means-tested benefits will automatically receive £900 in cost of living payments (split into three payments across the next 12 months).

Pensioners who usually receive Winter Fuel Payments in November and eligible disabled people will receive automatic payments worth £150 this summer.

There are now more than 40 schemes to help with the cost of living. See what you could be eligible for at gov.uk/helpforhouseholds

“All these measures make a real difference”

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Nicole Ratcliffe, 41, lives in Manchester with her husband and their two young daughters. Here, she shares how she took steps to save money.

“Both my husband and I work from home, so if we had the heating on all day, it would have cost us a fortune, so the first thing we did was turn the thermostat down from 21°C to 19°C.”

“It seems silly to waste money to heat the house when you can put an extra layer on. All of us have our own blankets for snuggling up and watching TV.”

“What’s funny now is that, as the warmer weather comes in and we don’t really need them, the girls still want ‘their’ blankets to cuddle up in.”

“We were really keen to get a smart meter, because we had no idea how much our bills would be, but it made sense to know what energy we were using and where to cut back as much as we could.

“It was installed in February, and it’s a good way of knowing exactly what you’re using.”

“Saving energy becomes part of your routine very quickly, so we always make sure we don’t overfill the kettle, for example. We’ve also switched to an air-fryer so we’re not using the oven, and I think all these separate measures make a real difference.”

“It makes complete sense when the energy prices are so high – I can’t imagine anyone not wanting to save money.”

“It all adds up”

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Kirsty Devine, 37, lives in Halifax with her husband Darren, a 42-year-old gas engineer, and son Darren, 15. Combined with government support, making small changes have helped them save energy.

“Over winter, we received payments from the Government which was very helpful.”

“And last year, we started making a few changes to our energy usage when there were whispers of price rises. We turned our thermostat down from 20-21°C to 18-19°C and thought that would be enough.”

“We were on a variable rate rather than a fixed tariff because it had always been cheaper, but by November, we were starting to panic.”

“In December, we got a bill of £190 for gas and £95 for electricity. Normally it was £90 for both. We’d even insulated under the kitchen cupboards because we knew they were a cold spot.”

“We also got the hot water bottles and blankets out – I try to keep busy in the day and it’s not too bad.”

“Our energy supplier launched ‘energy saving sessions’ which offered you money back if you didn’t use much energy at certain times.”

“In January, I started using the gas hob and microwave more than the oven. This helped save some pennies – it all adds up.” We now also wash up by hand because the dishwasher costs per cycle.”

“And we fill up the washing machine before using it – once you realise each cycle costs you more than a pound, you don’t do a half load!”

“We wash everything but towels and bedding at 30°C. We used to use our tumble dryer all the time, but they cost so much so we bought an airer to hang the washing.”

“Now the slightly lower bills are coming in – our gas bill last month was £100 which is nearly half of what it was in December – so there is hope!”

“Money from the Government was a nice surprise”

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Gill Erskine lives in Berkshire with her husband Andrew and two young children. She shares how government support helped reduce bills, plus other tips.

“Last September, it was all over the news that gas and oil prices had gone through the roof and everyone was going into abject panic.”

“I knew about it but didn’t realise how much they’d go up – we were paying £70 a month for the electricity in our two-bedroom bungalow (we don’t have gas, we live in the country and use oil) and now it’s £220.

“I remember getting the first big bill and thinking: ‘Wow – this is the real thing!’

“That’s when we started trying to save energy. We got in touch with the Energy Saving Trust and they sent someone round – I think we paid a donation – to do a draught assessment.”

“He found lots of major draughts and filled them in and suggested we keep the back door locked over winter – it’s a 1980s house, it’s single glazed and there loads of areas for improvement. I made a heavy curtain for the back patio door to trap the heat in.”

“And I was given an electric blanket for Christmas – it’s cheap to run and really good. That was a game changer and took the edge off things. We did get some money from the Government which was a nice surprise.”

“We have also cut down our oil usage – we filled up in October and haven’t done it again since, whereas we’d usually do it twice in the winter.”

What if I’m on a prepayment meter?

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One in seven UK households has a prepayment meter. By now you should have received vouchers for a £400 discount to help with energy bills split over the months between October and March.

You can redeem these at a top-up point, for example at a Post Office or PayPoint shop. Payzone outlets do not accept the vouchers.

Vouchers expire after 90 days. If your voucher does expire, it can be reissued. All vouchers must be redeemed by June 30, 2023.

Spend your vouchers by June 30.

How to save more on your energy bills

Fit an energy-efficient shower head – save up to £100 a year

Some water companies provide energy-efficient shower heads for free, or you can pick one up at your local DIY shop and fit it yourself.

It’ll save you up to £55 on your energy bill, but if you’re on a water meter, that adds up to more than 100 quid. (They’re not suitable for electric showers, but by switching on ‘eco-mode’, you’ll be able to save more water).

Cutting your shower length to four minutes will save also up to £90 on energy bills and if you’re on a water meter, you’ll save on that bill too.

Service your heating system

Summer is the time to make sure your central heating is in tip top condition. Bleed your radiators to release trapped air, to improve their efficiency and reduce energy consumption.

Simply switch off your heating system, wait for the radiators to cool down, then use a radiator key to open the valve at the top and release the air until water starts to flow. Close the valve and turn your heating system back on.

The warmer months are the perfect time to get your boiler serviced as it’s much easier to find an engineer than in winter.

Switch off ‘vampire appliances’ – save up to £70 a year

Almost every electrical appliance in your home, from computers and TVs to smart devices and game consoles, draw power continuously unless unplugged.

Turn them off at the plug when not being used.

Reduce your boiler flow temperature – save up to £100 a year

Reduce your boiler flow temperature to 60°C to lower your heating bill.

Wash clothes at 30°C

Setting your washing machine to 30°C is enough to remove any stains and get that fresh feeling!

Ditch your tumble dryer – save up to £110 a year

Only use the tumble dryer when you have a full load and really need to; otherwise, why not put your laundry out to dry on an airer or in the garden, especially as we move into summer and warmer temperatures.

Switch to LED lightbulbs – save up to £55 a year

Energy-saving bulbs give you just as much light at a much lower cost.

  • Most households have received a £400 discount automatically from their electricity supplier between October 2022 and March 2023 to support them with their energy bills.
  • Those households who did not receive the support automatically, as they do not have a domestic electricity supply, may be eligible to apply for the Energy Bills Support Scheme Alternative Funding until May 31, 2023 .
  • This includes partially or wholly self-funded care home residents, park home residents, and some residents in housing associations.
  • Search ‘energy bills alternative fund’ on GOV.UK or call 0808 175 3287 to check your eligibility.

Find out more about energy saving and support available at gov.uk/helpforhouseholds





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