From 1 April, energy providers announced a bill rate ceiling increase of 54 per cent, adding nearly £700 to household energy bills across the UK. Many Britons have been scrambling to find ways to cut costs since then, however, among the sea of information about energy use currently emerging, many myths have been caught – some even making changes that could waste energy.
According to recent research by Smart Energy GB, up to 66 percent of households surveyed have made changes with little or no impact on lowering energy costs.
Among the most common myths about energy use that have no effect on bills are washing the dishes by hand instead of using the dishwasher, always keeping the heating on a low setting instead of turning it off, and leaving electronic devices on standby all night.
Hand washing can use up to nine times as much water and requires more energy to heat up, and leaving heating low all day can actually result in energy loss.
However, some common effective energy-saving habits include only filling the kettle with the required amount, improving the insulation of the house, and turning off the TV at the plug when not in use.
The desire for more control is growing to offset the rising prices, with research by the National Statistics Office indicating that nearly four million people have had to seek first-time debt advice to help manage bills.
Read more: Should you get a smart meter? How to cut your energy bills by £250
Helen Skelton, a trusted voice on consumer issues and co-author of the Super Smart Energy Savers report, said: “It’s worrying that the cost of your energy bill is completely out of your control, but unfortunately, the price cap increase means that is now the case. To many people across the UK.
People need concrete and long-term solutions. While there are elements in the cost of living crisis that we cannot control, taking steps such as getting a smart meter to monitor energy use and being aware of the time your devices spend on work can help Brits feel more prepared and in control of their family budgets.”
With more households needing support in managing energy prices and household bills, Smart Energy GB has teamed up with Helen Skelton, Dominic Littlewood and Money Magpie, to provide for the next six major changes that will truly impact costs.
Check your insulation and draft resistance
Properties, especially older ones, are likely to lose heat throughout the day.
One of the best ways to reduce energy use is to reduce energy demand in the first place. Make sure the insulation is well maintained and drafts that transfer 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 reduce your energy use to keep bills low, knowing how much you use — and what you spend — can be very helpful.
Likewise, knowing what the bill will be before it arrives is also very important – it’s available at no additional cost from your power supplier.
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A OnePoll survey of 5,000 British adults found that nearly half have purchased a smart meter, with 47 percent saying they now feel more in control of their energy use, and 54 percent understanding it better.
Flip and time the thermostat to warm
Many people think that it is better to leave the heating at a lower temperature, but since homes lose heat all day, it is better to turn on the heating only when you really need it.
The best way to make sure it runs only when you need it is to set a timer.
Do not heat empty rooms
Whether it’s a spare room you don’t use often, or a storage room you rarely get into, stop heating it up.
This can be by turning off the radiators in that room or turning off the individual thermostat.
Check eligibility for grants or schemes to help with energy bills
If you are struggling to pay your bills, you may be able to get help from some schemes or grants offered by the government or energy suppliers.
These include the council tax rebate, the warm home rebate system, energy debt grants, local energy grants, and fuel vouchers.
close your curtains
Don’t underestimate the power of blinds or blackout blinds. Pulling the curtains can help retain heat in your home and reduce the loss of warm air.
In the summer, they can help keep rooms cool too by limiting the amount of direct sunlight in the room.