There is no escaping the increase in costs of gas and electricity at the moment. With charges going up with every supplier then it means that very soon, everyone will be paying more and for many people there will be a significant increase. If you are on a fixed rate with your supplier, then this increase will not come in until that fixed rate ends. However, there are not many, if any, fixed rates that are on offer to customers now that will reduce how much they are paying. This means that switching supplier will not save money for most people and suppliers may not even be taking on new customers anyway. Therefore, you will have to look for other options to help you out with reducing what you are paying.
Reducing your energy use can make some difference to what you pay. The utility bill is made up of a standing charge, which is a daily flat fee and a charge for the amount that you use. You cannot change the standing charge but if you use less, then this can have some impact. Unfortunately, it is standing charges that are rising the most, which means you will not be able to avoid paying more, but you could reduce how much extra you have to pay by using less energy. Many people already work hard to reduce what they use but here is a list of ideas that may include a few things that you have not yet tried.
- Turn off appliances rather than leaving them on sleep or stand by (televisions, computers etc).
- Only charge items until the batteries are full, do not leave them plugged in all the time (this reduces the battery life as well as using extra electricity).
- Turn your heating thermostat down or reduce the hours that your heating is on for. You can turn down the main thermostat or turn down individual radiators in rooms that do not need to be so warm. Wear more layers of clothing and have hot drinks to keep yourself warmer. Close curtains to keep heat inside the room when it is cold or dark, but open them to let sunlight in if it is sunny.
- Turn off lights in rooms when you are not in them.
- Consider energy efficiency ratings when you are buying new white goods to get ones that take less electricity.
- Use dishwashers and washing machines only when full and se if they have an eco setting which might take less power.
- Hang up washing on an airer or washing line rather than using a tumble dryer.
- Use a smart meter to track your energy use so you can see what is using the most energy and cut down use in that area.
Look For Grants
There is help available for those that are really struggling. It is a good idea to look at the Citizen’s Advice Bureau website or to call them to find out more about this. Some energy companies have hardship funds, as do some councils and so there may be help there, especially for the vulnerable or those on benefits. It is always good to check, even if you do not think you will qualify as you never know what help you might be entitled to. If you are struggling, there is no shame in asking for help. If you cannot get a grant, talk to your energy supplier and they may be able to lower the payments so that you can manage more easily. They will be used to helping people who are struggling and they may be happy for your account to run into debt for a while as long as you are making some payments each month.
Insulation can make a big difference to the amount of money that you have to spend on heating your home. Some houses are better insulated than others and therefore this can mean a big difference in how much it costs to heat. There might be some free insulation available as well, which can be worth looking into and otherwise, paying for it, can also be worthwhile. Things like draft excluders on doors, loft insulation and double glazing can make a big difference.
Consider Solar / Wind Energy
Generating your own energy can make a big difference to how much you pay. This is obviously not an option for everyone as there is a big investment required in paying for it to start with. You also need either land that faces the right way or a roof facing the right direction that is not shaded. However, it can be worth getting a quote to see how much it might cost. If you have some savings tucked away then this could be a good way to spend them. Do check with your local planning office as well though, as some buildings have restrictions on them.
Cut Spending Elsewhere
It can be wise to also look at where you are spending money elsewhere and cutting costs, to cover the increase in the cost of your energy. To do this, it is worth keeping a note of everything you are buying and how much it costs you. Often once we come more aware of the things that we are buying, we then are able to cut back a bit. This does not mean that you have to cut out all of your favourite things. It could mean switching brands, for example, which may make little difference to what you are buying but will just cost you less. You may also find you are paying for things that you do not really use much, such as magazine or app subscriptions, gym membership etc. Obviously, some of us are already cutting down and so finding even more areas to squeeze spending can be difficult. In this case it may be that you will need to look for ways to earn more instead.