It’s impossible to ignore the sudden – and very steep – rises in gas and electricity bills, with some UK households facing a 50% jump So if you’re dreading the news from your provider about an increase in your utility costs then you can start taking steps to offset some of the effects on your wallet.
Don’t just jump ship to another provider
When wholesale gas and electricity prices were lower, it was easy to shop around for even cheaper deals as many providers could lure customers into attractively-priced two or three-year fixed deals. However, you may be best advised to stick with your current provider, especially if your fixed deal has expired or is due to within the next 12 months, as you may be able to move onto a default tariff, which is sometimes cheaper than any new deal from a new provider.
Call your current provider to see how much your monthly or quarterly bills are likely to rise by and ask if they can offer a discount to retain your business. Energy market experts expect wholesale prices to drop in 2023, so moving to a relatively expensive two-year deal might hurt even more next year.
Look at your energy usage
Many of us use more energy and gas than we need to. Do you often have your thermostat set to 22C? You can manage quite comfortably at 21C or even 20C. Do you only turn off the heating when you go to bed? Set the timer for 15 or 20 minutes before bedtime to save a few minutes every day.
If any of your household appliances are due for replacement, choose the most energy-efficient models you can afford – some of the most efficient washing machines, for example, can save you up to £75 each year.
Swap out older bulbs for LEDs, as this can reduce your lighting expenditure by more than 90%, and try to avoid leaving appliances on standby as much as you can.
Only use your washing machine and dishwasher when there’s a full load and, if possible, do as many washes as you can at 20C or 30C. Most modern washing machines and dishwashers have a eco setting, so make use of it!
Improve your insulation
More than half of your gas and electricity spend goes on heating, so make sure you’re making the most of it. Use brush strips on sash windows, invest in some old-fashioned draught excluders and either install loft insulation or add more.
You may be entitled to a government grant or financial help from your energy provider to cover some of the costs of these improvements, so check your local authority website and call your provider to ask.
Claim any heating-related benefits that you may be entitled to
Depending on your circumstances, you may be eligible for the Warm Home Discount or the Winter Fuel Payment, which can be as much as £300 each year, so do check online for your eligibility, as every little helps.
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