As of April 1, energy providers announced an increased bill price cap of 54 percent, adding nearly £700 to household’s energy bills across the UK. Many Britons have been scrambling for ways to reduce costs ever since, however, among the sea of information around energy use currently surfacing, many have been caught by the myths – with some even making changes that could lead to energy waste.
According to recent research by Smart Energy GB, up to 66 percent of households surveyed have been making changes that have little or no impact on reducing energy costs.
Among the most common energy-usage myths that have no impact on bills include hand-washing dishes instead of using the dishwasher, keeping the heating on permanently at a low setting instead of turning it off, and leaving electronics on standby overnight.
Hand-washing can use up to nine times as much water and requires more energy to heat, and leaving the heating on low all day can actually lead to energy loss.
However, some common energy-saving habits that are effective include only filling the kettle with the amount needed, improving a home’s insulation, and turning the TV off at the plug when not in use.
The desire for more control to offset increasing prices is emerging, as research compiled by the Office of National Statistics indicates nearly four million have had to seek debt advice for the first time to help manage bills.
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Helen Skelton, a trusted voice on consumer issues and co-author of the Super Smart Energy Savers Report said: “It’s worrying to feel that the cost of your energy bill is completely out of your control, but unfortunately the price cap increase means that this is now the case for so many people across the UK.
“People need tangible, long-term solutions. Whilst there are elements of the cost-of-living crisis we can’t control, taking steps like getting a smart meter to monitor energy use and being mindful of how long your devices are on for can go some way to helping Britons feel more equipped and in control of their household budgets.”
With more households needing support in managing energy prices and household bills, Smart Energy UK teamed up with Helen Skelton, Dominic Littlewood, and Money Magpie, to provide the following six key changes to make that will actually impact costs.
Check your insulation and draught-proofing
Properties, particularly older ones, will likely lose heat throughout the day.
One of the best ways to reduce energy use is by reducing the demand for it in the first place. Ensure insulation is well maintained and drafts that carry heat away are minimized.
Get a smart meter
Smart meters ensure your bills are accurate and come with an in-home display that shows exactly how much energy is being used in near-real-time, in pounds and pence, to give customers more control over their energy use.
If you’re trying to limit your energy use to keep bills down, knowing how much you are using – and what you’re spending – can be a huge help.
Similarly, knowing what the bill will be before it arrives is also hugely important – and these are available at no extra cost from your energy supplier.
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A survey carried out by OnePoll of 5,000 British adults found almost half to have purchased a smart meter, with 47 percent confirming they now feel in more control of energy use, and 54 percent better understand it.
Turn down and time your heating thermostat
Many people think that it’s best to leave the heating on at a lower temperature, but as homes lose heat throughout the day, it’s more efficient to only turn your heating on when you really need it.
The best way to ensure it’s on only when you need it is to set a timer.
Don’t heat empty rooms
Whether it’s a spare room you don’t use frequently, or a storage room that is rarely entered, stop heating it.
This could be by turning the radiators off in that room or turning off the individual thermostat.
Check eligibility for grants or schemes to help afford energy bills
If you are struggling to pay your bills, you might be able to get help from certain schemes or grants offered by the Government or energy suppliers.
Close your curtains
Don’t underestimate the power of curtains or blinds. Drawing your curtains can help retain heat in your home and reduce the loss of warm air.
In summer, they can help keep rooms slightly cooler too by limiting the amount of direct sunlight in the room.