Once one of them goes, the others tend to follow… and so it came to pass. The big energy firms have all announced their price rises and now that we know where we all stand, we can make an informed choice about whether to stay loyal or search around for a cheaper deal.
And there are lots of ways you can do that. Check out this guide from our friends over at Money Saving Expert for the best way to cut your costs if you choose to go to another provider: http://www.moneysavingexpert.com/utilities/you-switch-gas-electricity
But it’s not all about switching to save money. There are some pretty simple ways you can keep costs down too – for free. So as UK households get set to pay an extra £736 million this year for their energy here’s five handy ways to reduce your energy bills
Do a meter reading every time you get a bill
Weirdly, loads of the people we speak to are nervous about direct debits, thinking they’re handing the keys of their accounts over to the energy providers. Don’t worry – you’ve got loads of rights – and you can cancel the direct debit when you like. But switching to this automated method of payment could save you around £75 a year. So it’s definitely worthwhile.
Public perceptions of what a ‘comfortable temperature’ is are changing. In fact, average UK household temperatures have gone up 1°C every decade. But our homes don’t necessarily need to be so warm. A government paper published in 2012 found that if turned your thermostat down just 1°C or 2°C you could potentially save between £87 – £139.
Confessions time. We’ve been chatting to people around the UK about their energy systems and huge numbers of them didn’t understand how their central heating worked, what their thermostat did, how to bleed their radiators and how to tackle a few simple boiler problems. There’s no shame in this – we’re all busy people. But get acquainted with the manual. From setting the timer to cover when you’re in the property to knowing how to reboot your boiler if it’s playing up, it could save you a packet. Oh, and if the heating breaks our top tip is simple – check the battery in the thermostat. There, that’s saved you at least £300 in emergency call out fees (and got us into trouble with handymen across the land!)
Reducing the impact of draughty windows and doors is an easy way to save money. Investing in double glazing will have a significant impact on reducing your bills, but the initial cost can be very expensive. Just keeping your curtains closed at certain times of day is another way to save a few quid. And it gives the neighbours something to talk about too.
We know, we know, we’re not your mother/father/partner, you know this one. Sounds obvious, but we can all forget to do this. Turning lights off as you leave a room is a great habit to get into. And cut down on all the mood lighting too. Great for a date, bad for your bill.
It might also be worth thinking about investing in a new boiler. They can be very expensive to buy, but the savings will add up in the long run. Depending on your home this can be £150 to £300 a year. So if you think you’re going to be in your house for a while it might be a worthwhile investment. If you’ve got an old copper boiler, don’t let the plumbers wander off with it – you could get £50-£100 trade in at a copper dealers.
No, it’s not a car, but thermostatic radiator valves. They mean you can control the level of heating in different rooms and not heat the whole house to the same temperature. Typically, £30 to be installed per radiator.
Don’t want to switch providers? We get that. But speak to your current energy company and ask them about cheaper tariffs and what you could save. In one phone call, you could save hundreds.