As you’re probably aware, the UK’s cost of living over the past year and a half has increased with under-30s being impacted the most, given the combined pressure of Covid, inflation and rising student debt and taxes on already low incomes. One particular cost that has been spiralling dramatically is energy supply, made worse with the Ukraine-Russian conflict. Although it may seem impossible to avoid these expenses as they play such an important role in our daily lives, here are some tips to alleviate the pressure on our already stretched budgets:
Direct debit it
As companies find it very time-consuming and difficult to chase up and collect late payments from households, they give you the option to pay by direct debit. Some companies will even offer hefty savings of up to £90 per year when you pay via this method, so be sure to check with your supplier individually. If you’re worried that they may overcharge you, this is where the meter readings come in handy, especially if you don’t have a smart meter (more on this below). If proven that they have been overcharging you, your supplier will refund you the monies.
Submit meter readings
If you have a smart meter, which will be the case for all residences by 2025, you’ll know what I’m talking about when I say you don’t even have to worry about your energy provider overestimating your bill and the hassle of settling the dispute with proof and long email or telephone communications. However, if you’re not so lucky, you should really consider submitting your readings and providing them to your energy company as it may take out two minutes of your day but the savings you make from it will be worth the effort.
The same goes for underestimating your bills. You will eventually have to pay a lump sum after they make a physical visit to check the meter reading or when your tenancy ends and you conduct the final mandatory meter readings). So why not just take accurate readings in the first place to ensure you only pay what you owe from the start?
Only use energy-efficient appliances
You’ve probably seen the A++ label when you purchase lightbulbs from your local hardware store and this tells you how good your appliance is at saving energy while carrying out the same task. For a little more money, you can replace traditional lightbulbs with energy-efficient LEDs which will translate into long term savings of 250 kWh at £35 a year and 70 kg of CO2.
Remember to switch off when not in use
One of the most common energy-wasting habits is not switching devices off completely. A simple flick, that takes only one second, can be hard to remember when you’re multitasking or in a hurry. But if you try to get into the habit of checking all your plugs before you leave the house or when you finish doing an activity, you can actually save some money. Likewise, unplugging chargers instead of leaving them overnight which leads to further and unnecessary wastage and turning off appliances in standby mode can potentially lead to savings of up to £30 per year. To save on heating costs, take advantage of the heat generated by the oven and keep the oven door open after you have used it. Also, avoid having furniture next to the heaters as they block the room from heating up.
- Wait until you have a full load of dishes and laundry before washing.
- Only kettle boil as much water as you really need.
- Always put your appliances on eco-mode where possible.
- Use any furry clothing, slippers, gloves or other items you have which can keep you warm so you can turn down your thermostat.
- Charge your devices at the library for free!
- Make sure you have opted for paperless bills.