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Get smart about energy saving

Get smart about energy saving

Don’t be in the dark about energy savings. You can save money by using less energy and paying less for the units of energy you do use.

  • If you are on a default tariff you could save hundreds of pounds a year by switching tariffs or suppliers
  • You could be eligible for help from the government to pay your bills * Becoming energy efficient will reduce your bills in the long run

Quick wins

Switch supplier

Unit price is the important thing in energy. You want to pay as little

per unit of energy as you can.

You get the same gas and electricity whichever supplier you're with — no provider supplies better gas or electricity to its rivals.

All the suppliers use the same pipes, connections, and cables, so when you switch the only thing that changes is how much you pay. With some tariffs you may need to upgrade to a smart meter. Suppliers will install your smart meter for free as part of the government smart meter rollout plan.

TotallyMoney research shows that the average UK household could save on average £382 a year by switching energy tariff.*

Switching suppliers online is quick and easy. From there, your new supplier will manage the process for you. And, with most suppliers being signed up to the Energy Switch Guarantee, it'll take no longer than 21 days before you're on your new tariff.

Kick the standby habit

According to the Energy Saving Trust, leaving appliances on standby instead of turning them off can cost you up to £35 a year.†

The worst offenders tend to be TVs and set-top boxes, games consoles, phone chargers, desktop and laptop computers.But, all of these can be turned off at the plug without any harmful effects.

Don't waste your energy

Use your appliances efficiently. This means always doing full loads when using the washing machine, tumble dryer, or dishwasher.

Only boil the kettle with as much water as you need, and make sure you descale it regularly as a build-up of scale means you use more energy to boil the same amount of water.

Hang your clothes out to dry whenever the weather allows. Never hang them on radiators to dry, and only use a tumble dryer if you absolutely have to.

Take control of your heating

How you manage the temperature in your home has a massive effect on your heating bill. There's no point heating your home if you're out all day – only heat your home when you need it.

There's no need to live in a sauna, either. Set your heating to the lowest temperature you're happy with, which is usually about 18°C to 20°C.

Get help you’re entitled to

Cold Weather Payment

You could get a Cold Weather Payment from the government if you’re getting certain benefits or Support for Mortgage Interest.

You don’t need to apply for the Cold Weather Payment. But, if you’re eligible, getting the cash depends on the weather. You need the average temperature in your area to be 0°C or below for seven days in a row.

You’ll automatically get £25 for each seven-day period of freezing temperatures between 1st November and 31st March each year.

Winter Fuel Payment

Winter Fuel Payment is paid to people born on or before 5th October 1954 and who receive the State Pension.

Annual payments are between £100 and £300 and depend on your age and whether you live with other people also eligible for the cash.

The payment is normally automatic, and paid in November or December. If you don’t receive your payment you’ll need to contact your pension office or Jobcentre Plus office. All contact details will be on any letters that have been sent to you. And, if you’re on Universal Credit, log into your account and add a note to your journal.

Warm Home Discount

The Warm Home Discount Scheme gives eligible households £140 off their electricity bill each winter. To qualify, you normally need to be in receipt of the Guarantee Credit element of Pension Credit, or be on a low income.

Unlike the other payments, the money isn’t paid directly to you. Instead, it shows as a one-off discount on your energy bill sometime between September and March, as long as your supplier is signed up to the scheme (not all suppliers are, so check before you switch).

If you didn’t receive your discount and you believe you’re eligible, contact the Warm Home Discount Scheme team on 0800 731 0214.

Invest to save money

Replace light bulbs

LED light bulbs are much more energy efficient than older light bulbs.

According to Simply LED, an LED bulb uses 5W of power to do the same job as a filament bulb using 40W.

LED bulbs are a bit more expensive, but you’ll get back the cost pretty quickly with a lower energy bill. The Energy Saving Trust believes if the average household replaced all of their bulbs with LEDs, it would cost about £100 and remove approximately £40 a year from an electricity bill.

Buy energy efficient appliances

If you need to replace any white goods, find appliances that are energy efficient.

All kitchen appliances, such as dishwashers and fridges, come with an energy rating. The fewer units of energy (measured in kilowatt hours – kWh) an appliance uses, the better its rating.

A+++ is the most efficient and G the least efficient.

Install smart devices

Don’t be confused by smart thermostats and smart meters – they are two different things, but both can save you cash.

A smart thermostat enables you to control your heating remotely via a smartphone app. So you can turn down the temperature at home while you’re out and about.

Smart meters are being rolled out to all energy customers for free. An in-home display shows how much energy you’re using at any one time, and can act as a prompt to turn off things you’re not using.

Get a new boiler

Most new boilers are wall-mounted gas combination boilers or ‘combi boilers’. These provide both heating and hot water directly from one boiler.

They’re not cheap. A boiler plus installation will cost around £2,595, but it will save you money in the long run.‡

The government Energy Companies Obligation (ECO) scheme was introduced to help low-income home-owners receiving benefits the chance to replace old, inefficient boilers for free or at a subsidised rate. Contact your supplier or the Energy Saving Advice Service to find out if you’re eligible.

How much you’ll save depends on how inefficient your old boiler was and the size of your home. If you live in a big detached house and replace a G-rated boiler with an A-rated one, the Energy Saving Trust says you could save up to £315 a year on your bills.§

Insulate your home

Insulation is the key to reducing heat loss from your home.

Many homes built before 1990 have a gap between internal and external walls. Filling this gap with insulating material (cavity wall insulation) means cold air is kept out, and warm air stays in.

Your home can also lose heat through the roof or loft. You can limit this by laying mineral wool under the rafters.

Double, or even triple, glazing reduces heat loss through windows. However, installation can be costly. A heavy pair of curtains is much cheaper and will reduce heat loss too.

The government announced a new Green Homes Grant scheme in the Summer Budget. The scheme offers homeowners up to £5,000 to fund two-thirds of the cost of making their homes more energy efficient. The money can be used for insulation and double or triple glazing, as well as a range of other energy-efficiency measures.

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