Saving energy around the home

Tips from Tom to help with rising fuel costs

Ofgem, the UK’s energy regulator, has increased the price cap on energy bills. A cap is the limit on the amount energy suppliers can charge for gas and electricity.

The cap has increased by 54% because global wholesale energy prices have risen at a record rate in the last year. On top of that, renewable energy created by windfarms across the UK is at its lowest. And it’s thought the situation in Ukraine could result in further increases.

This means that, from 1 April 2022, your energy supplier can charge you more for gas and electricity. As of releasing this TAP4 issue, the government is working to reduce the impact on households, including help via the council tax system and a future rebate on energy bills. But it’s likely that you’ll still pay more.

We know that this is worrying news for many of you. We’re here to give you support and advice to help ease this extra burden.

Our friendly Money Advice Team (telephone 01204 328000) is on hand to help with debt, budgeting and benefits.

You can also get advice from Tom Kirby, Energy Advisor at Starts with you by calling him on 07782 522498 or emailing: tom.kirby@startswithyou.org.uk.

In the meantime, we asked Tom to give us some tips on how to save energy in the home and keep fuel cost rises to a minimum.

Around the home

  • Set your thermostat to a healthy 18 to 21 degrees Celsius – turning your thermostat down by 1 degree Celsius could save around £80 a year.
  • Switch off appliances and lights when you’re not using them.
  • Unplug chargers when not in use as they still use energy when they’re not connected to a device.
  • Use energy saving light bulbs.
  • Use your central heating instead of individual electric heaters.
  • Have thicker curtains instead of blinds especially in the winter and close curtains at night to keep in the warmth.
  • Try not to block or cover your radiators – make sure there’s plenty space for the heat to ventilate around the room.
  • Keep internal doors closed to keep the heat in.
  • Try to keep mobile and move around every two hours to keep the blood flowing.
  • Wearing several layers of clothing will keep you warmer than one thick layer.

In the bathroom

  • Keep shower time to around five minutes.
  • Have a shower instead of a bath.
  • Keeping your bathroom door closed while having a bath or shower and opening a window or using extractor fan can prevent condensation. The ventilation will help, and will stop other areas of the home getting condensation as well.

In the kitchen

  • When buying new appliances, try to look for A or A plus rated appliances – this could save you approximately £89 a year per appliance.
  • Try washing new clothes at 30 degrees Celsius and things like bedding and towels at 60 degrees for hygiene reasons.
  • Fill the washing machine – this will use less energy than two half loads.
  • Try using rubber dryer balls in your tumble dryer to reduce drying time by around 30%. Better still, if you have a clothes line, use that to dry your washing.
  • Try defrosting your freezer regularly to make it run more efficiently.
  • Electric ovens are expensive to run so use a microwave to cook your food if you have one.
  • Save money by using a slow cooker and doing batch cooking – put extra portions in the freezer.
  • When you make a cup of tea, only fill and boil the kettle with as much water as you need.

Make sure you’re getting what you’re entitled to

If you’re on a lower income or receiving the Guarantee Credit element of Pension Credit, you can apply for the Warm Home Discount Scheme.

This is a one-off payment of £140 which will come off your bill. Not all suppliers are part of the scheme so, if you’re eligible, make sure you choose one that is.

To find out more, contact the Warm Home Discount helpline on 0800 731 0214 (Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm).

The Warm Home Discount is different to The Winter Fuel Payment which is automatically credited to your bank account if you’re eligible.

It can range from £100 to £300 depending on the number of people in your household. If you haven’t had it this winter and you think you should have, call the DWP on 0800 731 0160 (9.30am-3.30pm).

"Read your meter every time your supplier asks you to, or when you receive a bill. This way, you’ll be paying the correct amount each time."

As an experienced energy advisor, Tom can help with:

  • Support with energy arrears and repayment plans
  • Applying for grants and trust fund applications (most energy companies have trust funds for those struggling to pay)
  • Applying for winter fuel payments such as the £140 warm discount scheme
  • Tariff reviews
  • Advice on how to make a complaint to your energy provider
  • Dealing with disputes with your energy provider

Get advice from Tom

call Tom on 07782 522498 or email him at: tom.kirby@startswithyou.org.uk (Monday-Friday, 9am-5pm).