With millions of households across the UK set to be hit with an average £693 hike to their energy bills from this April, we look at ways you can save money on your utility bills.
Energy regulator Ofgem confirmed that the cap on gas and electricity bills will rise by an unprecedented £693 — 54% — to an average of £1,971 on April 1.
It will hit an estimated 22 million households around the UK and follows months of spikes in wholesale energy prices on the global markets.
While surging wholesale gas prices are outside the control of ordinary consumers, there are steps to minimise energy use and keep energy bills as low as possible.
Which? has found that consumers can save hundreds of pounds by taking simple steps such as turning down the thermostat and draught-proofing to save energy around the home.
Lowering the dial by just one degree could reduce bills by around £80-85 per year. Adjusting central heating timers to switch off at night and during the day if the house is empty will also minimise fuel consumption.
The consumer champion magazine also suggests looking at appliances that are not always in use and turning them off at the power if they are on standby. For a typical home, this could save £55 a year.
Installing loft insulation could save you up to £215 per year in energy bills depending on your home, as up to a third of heat disappears through the roof. If installed correctly, loft insulation should last for around 40 years and pay for itself many times over.
Another easy way to avoid wasting both energy and money is draught-proofing around the home. In some cases, this is as simple as buying a draught-excluding cushion and putting it in front of your door. Draught-proofing could save consumers £25 a year.
Swapping old-style bulbs with energy-saving LED bulbs saves around £7 per year in running costs, which may seem like a small saving, but as they are longer lasting a single bulb could eventually cut around £180 from your energy bills, compared to an old-style halogen bulb.
Choosing energy-efficient household appliances could save consumers more than £300 a year, when their old white goods need replacing.
While some of the most efficient appliances may be more expensive up front, Which?’s research has found they are cheaper over the average product’s lifetime due to their lower running costs.
Some households may also be eligible for schemes in grants that can help reduce the energy bills burden.
The Warm Home Discount is worth £140 a year and available mainly to pensioners and those who get certain benefits, while the Winter Fuel Payment is worth £100-£300 per winter, for those born before 26 September 1955.
From April, the Renewable Heat Incentive Scheme will close, but be replaced with a new boiler upgrade scheme offering up to £5,000 if you replace your current gas or oil heating with a low-carbon alternative.
Natalie Hitchins, Which? head of home products and services, said: “Huge energy bill hikes are a cause of real concern for millions of households across the country, especially when many are already feeling the pressures of the cost of living crisis.”