As households brace themselves for soaring energy bills this winter, some are taking action to try to reduce their energy use right now.
For more than a quarter (28%), this is the first summer they’ve taken steps of this nature, after typically paying less attention to bills during the warmer months, according to a survey by Smart Energy GB.
From October, households will start receiving a £400 discount on energy bills, as part of a wider cost-of-living Government support package, which also includes targeted support for those who are particularly vulnerable.
Consultancy Cornwall Insight has made the dire prediction that a typical household could face an annual cap of around £3,582 from October, rising to £4,266 from January. Regulator Ofgem recently warned that customers face a “very challenging winter ahead”.
Smart Energy GB, which highlights the importance of smart meters, has teamed up with consumer advocates Dominic Littlewood, Helen Skelton and MoneyMagpie to help households with their budgeting.
“We have all had a big wake-up call this year with the increases in bills, and despite the fact we are in the middle of summer, people across Britain have been taking action to reduce their energy usage more now than ever before,” says Littlewood, who has also joined forces with Smart Energy GB to launch a new online mini-series called What’s Watt, tracking families as they look to reduce their energy use.
While many people turn to energy-saving habits during winter, some may be less used to taking action while the weather’s warm – but Littlewood points out there are some worthwhile steps to consider. For starters, having a smart meter installed.
“Smart meters give people visibility of their energy spend and can help them better manage their finances,” says Littlewood. This could be an incentive to turn off items that don’t need to be left switched on, for example.
Here are some more of Littlewood’s tips for reducing energy use right now…
1. Keep curtains and blinds closed on hot days
Or partly closed, if it’s not possible to do so fully. This will help restrict sunlight and keep the room cooler (meaning less need to crank up those electric fans!).
2. Use the washing line
Ideal when the weather is hot. “Dry clothes outside and avoid the tumble dryer whenever possible. Think, if something heats up then it’s costing you money,” Littlewood adds.
3. Batch cook meals
Littlewood says batch cooking can also help: “Instead of cooking once every night, cook a batch in one go, freeze and then reheat meals throughout the week in the microwave.”
4. And batch iron
Ironing clothes in batches, rather than just a few items at a time, may also help trim down electricity use
5. Cook smart
Is your approach to cooking as efficient as possible? Keeping lids on pans while cooking can also help water boil faster, meaning less energy is used, Littlewood notes.
6. Make some swaps
There may also be “really simple swaps” around the house that people can make to reduce their energy consumption, Littlewood suggests. These could include installing an energy-efficient shower head, and making sure fans and cooling equipment are as energy-efficient as possible.
7. Check fridge seals
He also suggests checking refrigerator seals, as a break will mean the fridge has to work harder to maintain a low temperature. And while on the topic, Littlewood adds: “If you’re looking to buy any new appliance, look for ones with a higher energy efficiency rating.”
While every little helps when it comes to adjusting everyday habits to save costs, if you’re struggling with your energy bills, it’s important to contact your supplier. Ofgem rules mean suppliers must offer payment plans that people can afford. For more information about the help available with rising bills, visit ofgem.gov.uk.