Energy efficiency

As things stand, our planet is being put to the test. Climate change is one of the most serious environmental problems of our times, and limiting its impact is a challenge we all need to embrace.

Reducing CO2 emissions produced by lowering the amount of energy used to heat our homes is a key first step forward. In this respect, technology will surely provide us with a helping hand in the years to come. But for now, by making small changes to our daily routines, we can all do our bit to safeguard the environment – both for our own and future generations’ benefit.

Browse our page to learn how simple, basic adjustments to your habits can help minimise your home energy usage. First of all, you will actively be contributing to lowering levels of carbon emissions in the area. What’s more, you will be cutting your energy bills and improving your health.

Easy Energy Saving Tips

We consume considerable amounts of electricity on a daily basis. Whether it’s turning on appliances, heating our rooms, or switching the lights on, we will always need energy at some point during the day. But are there ways to regulate how much electricity we use? The answer is yes, and they are very easy to follow too.

Here are some tips on how to reduce your energy consumption, which will also alleviate some of your fuel costs at the end of each month.

Why keep the lights on in an unused room? If you are leaving your bedroom, kitchen, or living area, make sure you switch off the lights as you walk out the door.

Energy-saving lightbulbs last up to 10 times longer than regular bulbs. This can have a positive effect on your finances, saving you about £55 over the bulb’s lifetime.

On sunny days, make the most of natural sunlight and open your curtains. This will welcome heat inside the room, keeping your house nice and warm. Likewise, when the sun goes down or it’s simply cold outside, do not forget to close your curtains – this will help contain that precious warmth.

Why make your house boiling hot? 18-21˚C is a reasonably cosy temperature for most people. Lowering your room temperature by 1˚C can have a massive effect on your bills, reducing them by up to 10%. The recommended temperatures for living rooms, bedrooms and bathrooms, and hallways are respectively 21˚C, 18˚C, and 16˚C.

Closing internal doors is a simple yet effective way to limit heat loss in your home. Using draught excluders at the bottom of doors will free your rooms from unwanted chilly breezes.

Spending less time in the shower is a great way to keep your wallet full. In fact, electric showers are high energy users because they need to heat water in a matter of seconds. Showering for one minute less each day can save a typical household around £45 on its energy bills – and some precious pounds on water expenses too.

How much water do you really need? The more you boil, the more electricity the kettle will use.

Washing your garments at 30˚C, rather than the typical 40˚C, will reduce electricity usage and spare you a third of the cost. Also, one full load requires less energy than two half-loads – so make sure to fill up your washing machine, dishwasher, or tumble dryer.

Do not keep unused electrical devices plugged in. This consumes unnecessary electricity.

How do you know whether you are heating your home in an energy-efficient manner? From programmer controls to thermostats, ensure you understand how your heating and water systems work.

Help Available

If you are struggling to afford your energy bills, there are a number of schemes that can offer you the support you need and deserve. Let’s discover some of the help that is available.

If the average temperature in your area has hit – or is forecast to reach – sub-zero temperatures for one consecutive week, you can receive payments to help you cover your fuel bills. Contact the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) to check whether you are eligible.

Were you born on or before 26th September 1955? If so, you could receive between £100 and £300 to help you afford the price of your winter heating bills. You should get the payments automatically every year between November and December. Still waiting for the money to arrive? Are you yet to make your claim? Dial the following number: 0800 731 0160.

The Warm Home Discount runs annually and is available from the majority of big electric providers. Applications are only open for a limited period of time every year. If you are eligible, you can benefit from a contribution of £140, which will aid towards the payment of your winter energy bills. Contact your supplier to check if they are part of the scheme. Also, do not forget to inquire about the opening dates of applications.

If you are struggling financially and cannot afford to top up your pay-as-you-go meter until payday, contact your energy provider. You shouldn’t just sit in the cold and the dark! Energy suppliers can provide discretionary credit to keep you warm until your next top-up. Of course, you will need to pay this back – but a temporary helping hand in a moment of difficulty can keep you happy and safe in your home.

Energy suppliers use the Priorities Service Register (PSR), a free and voluntary system that makes sure that the most vulnerable customers are given the help they require.

Designed and overseen by Ofgem, it is a system that guarantees better support to those who have special requirements. In this way, they can be assisted as and when needed.

Support can include anything from quarterly meter readings and Braille bills to advanced warning of service interruption and priority in the event of a power cut.

Smart Meters: A Modern Tool to Check Your Bills

Traditional meters will soon be replaced by an innovative, new generation of gas and electricity meters: the so-called ‘smart meters’. Between now and 2025, households across Britain will be offered a smart meter by their energy provider, all of which will be free of charge.

These handy tools allow you to keep an eye on your energy usage, highlighting how you are using it and how much it is costing you. Smart readers share this information with your supplier wirelessly through a safe network. This also means that your fees will be accurate, and you will no longer need to rely on manual meter readings.

What’s more, pay-as-you-go smart meters give you the opportunity to easily top up from your sofa, whether through your mobile phone, an app, or a website.

You will also be handed an in-home digital device that tells you exactly how much energy you are consuming and how much it will amount to. Not only that, but it will also notify pay-as-you-go customers of their remaining credit.

Check Energy Ratings

When looking for a new appliance, make sure you buy an energy-efficient one that will both minimise your environmental impact and save you money in the long term.
In fact, technology is always creating new ways to ensure we use energy in an efficient manner. Therefore, if you are on the hunt for a fridge or a dishwasher, take this factor into great consideration.
New appliances tend to exhibit Energy Recommendation or Energy Saving Trust logos. Think twice before purchasing appliances that have a rating close to G, as these are the least efficient. On the other hand, A, A+, and A++ are considerably better options. As well as the price tag, consider how much their running costs may end up being.

How to Manage Fuel Debts

Having trouble paying your bills can be a discouraging and upsetting experience. What can you do to fix the situation? Here is some advice:

  • Always make sure that your energy bills are correct and accurate – Taking regular meter readings should nip the issue in the bud. In fact, this will help you ensure that you are being charged a price that is both fair and reasonable. If your energy supplier is not provided with meter readings, they will create their own estimate of your usage. Ultimately, this could lead to a heftier bill.
  • Inform your supplier about any financial difficulty – If you are struggling to afford or keep up with energy payments, you should immediately contact your provider. In these scenarios, there are rules in place that your supplier must adhere to. If they are not informed and you miss the payment deadline, late fees may be added to your bill.

If you are experiencing any issues, make sure to get in contact with your supplier. In fact, every energy provider must:

  • Propose payment plans that take into account how much you are able to afford
  • Offer you information on how to avoid falling into debt
  • Give you a prepayment meter only as a last resort before proceeding to disconnect you
  • Provide tips and advice on how to pay back money that you owe the company

There are many other ways in which you can find support to deal with your energy costs. This is a list of organisations that can offer you the help you require:

  • Charis Grants 01733 421 021
  • The Energyworks Team 0800 090 3638
  • National Energy Action – Warm and Safe Homes Advice 0800 304 7159