Ofgem chief executive, Jonathan Brearley, has told MPs that energy bills are likely to rise by a staggering £800 in October. This is on top of the April energy price cap rise of nearly £700 per household. While this figure is currently provisional, the prediction is stark, with the cost of average bills set to soar to around £2,800 a year.
The increase is due to a 10x rise in wholesale gas prices and a sharp hike in the cost of electricity. Kevin Wellman, CEO of the Chartered Institute of Plumbing and Heating Engineering (CIPHE) said, “This is a dire situation. Fuel poverty is already estimated to rise from 3.66 million households to 6.32 million households following the April price cap rise. A further £800 a year on bills is unsustainable. The government must step in with meaningful support for vulnerable households.”
The CIPHE has the following tips to help prepare for rising costs:
- If you are having issues paying energy bills, talk to your supplier straight away. Help schemes are available.
- Don’t run appliances such as washing machines or dishwashers on a half load. If available, switch to an eco mode or use a lower temperature wash.
- Take a shower instead of a bath to reduce both heating and water use.
- Ensure mixer taps are on cold, so you only use hot water when you have to.
- Maintain your boiler. Servicing ensures it is working safely and at its peak efficiency, while avoiding costly breakdowns.
- Not all heating systems are the same. Ask your engineer how to use your system in the most energy efficient way.
- Insulate your home to save on energy bills. Depending on your circumstances, grants may be available under the Energy Company Obligation (ECO) scheme.
- If your network allows it, install a smart meter to review your energy use.
- Do some DIY. Undertake simple draught proofing measures to block up unwanted gaps surrounding windows, doors, letter boxes and loft hatches. Additionally, installing special foil to the wall behind radiators stops heat escaping through walls and reflects heat back into the room.
- When you need to turn the heating back on:
- Use heating controls such as a boiler thermostat, room thermostat and timer, to ensure you heat your home only when you need to. If you can, go a step further and install smart controls for enhanced control of your system.
- Fit thermostatic radiator valves (TRVs) to your radiators so you can turn off heating in unoccupied rooms.
- Turn your thermostat down by 1oC or 2oC to save money on your bills.
- Use lower cost alternatives to heating such as heated blankets, but don’t use electric fan heaters – they can be more costly than central heating.
- Keep furniture, curtains and washing clear from radiators so they can work effectively, and ensure radiators are full of water and free of air.
You can find more energy and water saving tips online at www.ciphe.org.uk