With winter approaching, we all need to start preparing for the cold weather that’s on its way. It’s also the time of year where many of us start worrying about the cost of our gas and electricity bills.
To help you save on your winter energy bills, we’ve put together a few top tips so you can keep your home warm and toasty without breaking the bank. Let’s take a closer look at how you can make a difference.
1. Make The Switch
Worried that you might be on the wrong tariff or paying too much? Price comparison sites should be your first port of call. It really can pay to shop around, especially if you’ve been with the same energy supplier for a few years. Switching to a cheaper supplier or tariff could save you up to £200 a year, so it’s well worth taking the time to do so. And the sooner before winter you do it, the better.
If you have the time or inclination, you could change suppliers as often as every 28 days – but you should make sure you do it at least once a year if you want to make savings. Comparison websites like GoCompare, USwitch or MoneySuperMarket make it easy to ensure you’re getting the best deal, including options from small suppliers and companies like Co-op Energy or Ovo. And if there are 42 days or less left until your current plan expires, you won’t have to pay any exit fees.
2. Turn Down Your Thermostat
When the temperature drops, we all want to keep warm – but there’s a way to do it without wasting energy. According to the Energy Saving Trust, turning down your room temperature by just 1ºC can save you up to £85 a year on your heating bills.
If you want to use less energy and keep your winter energy bills down, don’t just turn up the heating without thinking about it. That thermostat needs to be at a reasonable level so you can stay warm, but why not put a woolly jumper on first and see if it makes a difference? It’s well worth having a look at your radiators, too – you could turn them down in rooms that you’re not using. And you should also make sure that your heating is programmed to turn off when you’re not there.
3. Choose Energy-Saving Lightbulbs
Have you ever thought about replacing standard light bulbs with special energy-saving ones? With winter approaching, it’s a good time to do it – an energy saving bulb can last up to ten times longer than a normal one, and could save you as much as £60 over the course of its lifetime.
Old-fashioned filament bulbs are only around 5% efficient, but energy-saving (CFL) ones use up to 80% less energy. Light emitting diode (LED) bulbs are the most efficient option, and also the most expensive. It’s up to you to pick the one that works for your budget, but either way this simple solution to save on your winter bills and throughout the year.
4. Keep Your Bills Under Control
If you opt to pay your energy bill through direct debit, you’ll be able to spread your energy costs over the course of the year – meaning you can avoid huge winter bills. It’s also sensible to check your meter regularly, so you can ensure your bills are as accurate as possible.
If you think your bills have become too high and you have credit with your energy supplier, make sure you take a meter reading and ask for a credit refund. You can do so at any time, and don’t take no for an answer. For your protection, Condition 27 of the Gas and Electricity Supply License Conditions says any credit balance must be refunded if requested by the customer.
5. Claim Your Discount
If you claim a means-tested benefit like Universal Credit or Jobseekers’ Allowance, you might be eligible for the Warm Heating Discount. This is a one-off £140 discount on your winter energy bill (it’s taken off your energy bill, not paid in cash). Bigger energy companies with over 250,000 customers are required to take part in the scheme, including British Gas, Scottish Power, SSE, E.On, EDF Energy and Npower.
Born before 5th August 1953? You might qualify for the Winter Fuel Payment instead. If eligible, you could get between £100 and £300 towards covering your winter heating bill costs.
Don’t waste time, start saving on your winter energy bills today and have a more cost effective winter!