With rising energy bills putting renewed pressure on household finances, it’s never been more important to find ways to reduce your bills.
Here’s three ways to cut your usage without being left in the cold.
How much energy does the average household use?
Before we look at how much less energy you could be using, it’s helpful to have an idea of how much you should be using. According to the energy regulator, Ofgem, the average energy usage of a typical household in the UK (a three-bedroom house with 2.4 occupants) is 12,000 kWh (kilowatt-hours) of gas and 2,900 kWh of electricity per year.
This equates to £208 per month, and £2,500 a year, although this figure is set to rise significantly in the months ahead. To help guard against rising costs, consider saving energy, switching to a smart meter and checking your tariff.
How to save energy
The good news is there are many ways to efficiently cut down on your energy usage. Some take just a few seconds:
1. Turn your thermostat down
Almost half the money you spend on energy is used for heating and hot water. Turning your heating down by just one degree could save the average home £115 a year, according to British Gas.
2. Install energy-saving light bulbs
Switching your traditional bulbs to LED or CFL will slash your usage by 80% and 75%, respectively.
3. Don’t leave your devices on standby
You can save around £65 annually by turning them off, according to the Energy Saving Trust.
4. Adjust your boiler settings and radiators
If you have a combi boiler you can reduce the flow temperature, which regulates the water that circulates around the system and heats your radiators. Combi boilers work most efficiently at around 60°C, but they are set at 70 to 80°C by default. Making this change can save over £100, according to Nesta.
A smart meter could help you save
Smart meters allow customers to track energy usage in real time.
This has a number of benefits:
- It means you can understand your energy use better, allowing you to focus on the specific areas that need attention to cut costs.
- Any sudden jumps in usage (a faulty appliance, for example) can be spotted immediately, and rectified
- Smart meters communicate directly with your supplier, which saves you the effort of taking a meter reading. It also means no more estimated bills, so you pay only for what you use.
- As well as helping customers consume less energy, smart meters also help the electricity grid build a more accurate view of exactly what energy is being used, and where. As a result, suppliers can buy and sell the right amounts of energy, which helps drive down the overall cost for consumers.
Check if your energy tariff is the best for you
In the past, shopping around for the best tariff was more often than not a sure way to save on your energy bill. However, rapidly inflating and historically high gas prices means that there are very few (if any) competitive deals – and almost none that are cheaper than the Government’s Energy Price Guarantee scheme, which was introduced in October.
However, even if there are no better tariffs available, some suppliers and services will add you to an email list, and alert you when a better deal arrives. Whatever the case, it can never hurt to talk to your supplier to understand your options.
Alternatively you can switch to a supplier that offers discounts on all your essential household bills, including energy. Utility Warehouse (also known as UW for short) can help homes save over over £500 per year by taking out four of its products.
These include broadband, mobile phone and insurance. The more services you switch, the more you save. It also has a cashback card which provides discounts for select retailers of up to 10% – plus 1% on everyday spending. The savings are taken off your bill each month.