Ofgem has confirmed a staggering 80% rise on the energy price cap from 1 October 2022, meaning that in just one year, average household dual fuel bills have lurched from £1277 in October 2021, to an excruciating £3,549. It’s estimated half of all households in England, Scotland and Wales will fall into fuel poverty due to the price rises. With such stark warnings ahead, now is the time to plan how to lower your energy bills.
The energy price cap was introduced in 2019 to set the top figure that those on dual-fuel rates could be charged for typical yearly usage of gas and electricity. The increase comes in the wake of record gas energy market prices, caused by the global supply crisis, and the war in Ukraine. Back in May, the Government stepped in with a £15bn package of support, but with households facing an additional £1578 to pay, the measures only scrape the surface of the shortfall bill payers are facing this winter.
Saving money on fuel will become increasingly important, but don’t ignore the need for appliances to be regularly maintained by a GasSafe Registered Engineer. This ensures your system remains efficient and safe for the year ahead, and can avoid costly breakdowns. Looking for more tips? The Chartered Institute of Plumbing and Heating Engineering (CIPHE), offers the following advice to take action on energy bills:
- If you cannot pay your energy bills, talk to your supplier straight away about the help available.
- Don’t run appliances such as washing machines or dishwashers on a half load. Ensure they are full, and 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.
- Swap inefficient shower heads for those that use less water and less energy to heat.
- Ensure mixer taps are on cold, so you only use hot water when you have to.
- Not all heating systems are the same. Ask your engineer how to use your system in the most energy and cost 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 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 from 20oC to 19oC to save around 7% on your energy bill. Layer up, or stick on a jumper, and turn it down 2oC to double your cost savings.
- Use lower cost alternatives to heating such as heated blankets, but don’t use electric fan heaters – they can be more expensive to run than central heating.
- Keep furniture, curtains and washing clear from radiators so they can work effectively.
Find more energy saving tips online at www.ciphe.org.uk/utility-bills