Every household in the UK has felt the pinch as energy suppliers have folded and prices have continued to rise, making energy costs a real problem in 2022. Resolver has been heavily contacted by people worried about their soaring monthly bills and if there’s anything they can do with their energy supplier – have a read of our previous blog where we explore rising prices, billing and talking to your energy supplier.
One route many households have looked into is switching their energy supplier or even trying to find a fixed rate for their energy tariff, as the energy price cap, which rose by 54% in April, has been estimated to rise by another 51% in October!
There is an Energy Price Cap that has been put in place by Ofgem – The Office of Gas and Electricity Markets. Ofgem supports the Gas and Electricity Markets Authority, and are the government regulator for the electricity and gas providers in Great Britain.
The price cap restricts the rates energy suppliers charge for their default tariffs for the average household in the UK. Standing charges and the price per kWh of gas and electricity are included in this cap, so it’s a cap on the individual unit, not on your total bill – this will still be priced as a result of the amount of energy your household uses.
If you fall into one of the several categories that funding has been allocated to, to help pay your energy costs, then yes, there is help out there and we have a separate article highlighting these great support funds and how to access them here.
But since the energy tariffs and energy price cap are out of our control as consumers, what actions can we take to make our homes as energy saving as possible and lower our overall usage? We might be experiencing a heat wave at this present time, but it won’t be too long before the nights grow darker and the days get colder come Autumn and Winter.
It’s not all doom and gloom, there are practical ways to reduce energy costs by making yourself and your home more energy efficient:
We’re not telling anyone that they should turn off their heating and put more layers on to keep warm (but do note turning your heating down by 1 degree could save you over £100 annually, so a jumper when it’s cooler isn’t the worst idea).
No, we’re talking about wrapping up your house. This can be by installing loft, floor or cavity wall insulation, and even down to wrapping hot water tanks and pipes running through your home. By insulating your property you can prevent up to 50% of your household heat escaping, that’s a dramatic saving of your energy usage and therefore your energy costs. Adequately insulating your home allows you to maintain an ambient temperature all year round, keeping it warm in the winter and cool in the summer.
Sealing up your house from draughts is a quick and generally easy way to keep your home feeling warm and reducing heat escaping unnecessarily. This can be simply ensuring you draw curtains across windows and use draught excluders along the bottom of doors with bigger gaps. But take a note of other places to check for draughts such as, loft hatches, original floorboards, letterboxes, gaps where pipes and electrical cables come into your house.
You can pick up great draught excluding materials from most hardware shops at relatively low costs, that may make a real difference to your energy costs.
Now this covers a multitude of potential energy wasting aspects of your home, and many may seem like a larger upfront cost, but in the long run they will make your home more energy efficient and reduce your annual energy costs significantly – plus most are better for the environment:
Going green when it comes to our energy has been high on the priority list for a lot of households over the past few years. There are a range of greener energy producing and low carbon heating systems now available, though many people are unsure where to start looking, or how much they should be paying, to upgrade their home.
There are currently no grant schemes in place for installing solar panels, however the UK Government is now running the Boiler Upgrade Scheme (BUS), helping homeowners in England and Wales with the cost of purchasing and installing low carbon heating systems (air & ground heat source pumps and biomass boilers). The grant is up to £6000 and will be available until 2025.
Many energy suppliers will install a smart meter in your home for free! This is a great tool for two reasons:
An easy win in the saving on energy costs race is switching off lights in rooms you’re not in! It’s this type of thinking that will see your energy usage on your smart meter keep nice and low.
Another win on energy saving is replacing your light bulbs with new LED light bulbs. This can save up to 85% of energy consumption and an LED light bulb will last 10 times longer than a standard halogen bulb.
When it comes to turning things off, ensuring your appliances are fully turned off (not on standby with their little red light), is a small but still significant saving – in the UK an average home spends around £55 per year powering appliances left on standby – that’s £55 better in your bank than spent on an appliance you’re not even using.
Living in the UK we tend to take water for granted, but when approximately 20% of your gas bill goes on heating water, it’s safe to say we need to give it some thought. Easy ways to save water (and therefore energy and money) are:
So in summary, we know that the energy price hike is not going anywhere, but if you are struggling to pay your bills help is at hand, and for those trying to reduce their energy use and therefore energy costs, we hope we’ve given some great starting points to help you bring those bills down as much as possible.
If you are struggling to communicate with your energy provider and you’re unhappy with the service they are providing, Resolver are here and can facilitate raising a complaint, visit our website to find out how.
Keep up to date with all news and our Resolver Guides, visit Resolver News.