The top ten easy ways to save energy and money on your fuel bills are;
- Only use the heat, light and appliances you really need
- Lag your hot water tank
- Use energy-saving light bulbs where appropriate (they use a quarter of the electricity and last eight times longer than an ordinary bulb)
- If you have a thermostat try turning it down by one degree centigrade, which can reduce your fuel bills by up to 10%. Ideally living rooms should be 21oC and bedrooms 18oC in colder weather.
- Fit thermostatic radiator valves
- Fit draught proofing to windows and doors
- Make sure you have loft insulation to the current building regulation standard
- Install plastic secondary glazing if you do not already have double glazing
- If you have cavity walls, seek advice on cavity wall insulation
- If you have an old central heating boiler, fit an energy efficient condensing boiler
Spend less money on fuel bills
Fuel bills can be complicated and with the average household (standard variable tariff) spending in excess of £1,100 a year on their gas and electricity, they can be a real concern for many people. Not only can fuel bills themselves be difficult to understand, energy companies also offer a bewildering array of tariffs and payment plans.
Every fuel bill is affected by a number of factors which can make it hard to work out how you can reduce them. However, the size of your fuel bill is largely a result of your household energy efficiency. Making sure your home is well insulated is one of the most significant ways to save money on your fuel bill.
The electricity and gas market is very competitive and some consumers could make savings by switching energy suppliers. Although it can be a relatively simple process to switch from one supplier to another it is important to consider if this is suitable for you. There are a number of comparison services and websites online that can help you decide which tariff or supplier is best for you. These services will probably ask about your energy use, so it is a good idea to have your last fuel bill to hand when using them. To search and find out information on switching energy suppliers and shopping for a better deal you can visit the Ofgem website.
For most people the way we pay our fuel bill will usually have an effect on the savings that can be achieved and many companies offer particularly good rates to customers who pay via direct debit. There are also tariffs that give incentives based on how much energy you use or reward schemes to encourage customers to stay with a supplier for a minimum period of time. Some types of tariffs require an adjustment of the metering system, such as Economy 7 or two tier meter tariffs offer cheaper rates during the night, although you will have to pay more in the day. To find out if this type of tariff is suitable for you, talk to your utility company directly.
Our collective switching scheme aims to help and support residents looking to reduce their gas and electricity bills. Grouping together offers a straightforward solution for residents to find out whether they can get a better deal and benefit by saving money on their home energy bills. The more people who register, the more interested the suppliers are in gaining them as customers and so the better the deal they offer. For further information see Energy Deal.
If you are having difficulty paying or understanding your bills contact your energy supplier to discuss.
The Citizens Advice helpline is able to offer help and advice on what to do if you are struggling to pay your energy bills, search 'energy supply' at www.citizensadvice.org.uk.
The Energy Saving advice service provides independent expert advice to homeowners on saving energy in the home. Visit www.energysavingtrust.org.uk or call 0300 123 1234.
For information on the Warm Homes Discount Scheme, Winter Fuel Payment and Cold Weather Payment visit the Benefits, Heating and Housing Benefits page at http://www.gov.uk