Who your energy provider is, and how much energy you use, can affect your bills.
The best way to keep your bills down is to use less energy. Here are some tips on how to do that:
- Turn the lights off when you leave a room and use energy-saving light bulbs
- Defrost the fridge and check it's not on too high
- Don't leave electric products on standby. If it’s warm or has a light on, it’s using energy. This could end up costing you an extra £30 a year
- Turn down your heating and wear jumpers
- Shut doors between rooms
- When you use the kettle, only boil as much water as you need.
- Cover pots and pans when cooking so they boil faster
- Use a microwave to heat up small amounts of food
- Wash clothes at 30 degrees, unless they're really grubby
- Run your washing machine (and dishwasher) with a full load.
Dual fuel isn’t always the cheapest option
Dual fuel means you get your gas and electricity from the same company. It’s often cheaper than signing up to separate gas and electric companies, but not always. Compare costs by looking at energy comparison websites like comparethemarket.com/energy, moneysupermarket.com, and uswitch.com
Pay by monthly direct debit
Setting up direct debit payments with your bank or credit union could save you 5-10%. Having a direct debit payment means your bills are paid automatically every month. Because companies know you won't miss a payment they will often charge you less. If there are any overpayments, the company will pay you back at the end of the year.
Do a meter reading every time you get a bill
Every time you get a bill, take a meter reading and contact your energy supplier with it. Energy suppliers will give you an estimate of how much energy you’ve used, but they are often wrong. If they have under-estimated how much you’ve used, you'll have a big bill to pay at the end of the year. If they have over-estimated you’ll end up paying more each month. If the bill is wrong, your supplier should change your bill. You should also change your direct debit amount by speaking to your bank or credit union.
Switch to online billing
Most energy companies offer online billing/tariffs. This means you get your bills emailed to you instead of posted. If you switch to online payments, you will usually save up to 10%.
Avoid pre-payment meters if you can
They cost more than paying by direct debit. Find out if you can switch to a billed meter. You may have to pay to get one but the savings are usually worth it.
Check out the Warm Home Discount scheme
If you’re on a low income, you might be able to get a discount of £140 on your energy bills through the Government’s Warm Home Discount. You can find out more here.
Get free loft insulation
Good loft insulation can save you up to £150 on your fuel bill, according to British Gas. You can claim free loft insulation if you are on certain benefits or tax credits, or if you live in low-income areas. Find out more here.
Consider a financial hardship tariff
If you're having trouble with money, some companies offer special tariffs. Don’t assume that these tariffs are the cheapest option though. Always check the cheapest tariffs online, as they often beat many hardship deals.