Starting this month, Ofgem has increased the energy price cap by 12%, meaning households will see higher energy bills this winter. This comes after an increase just this past August and a prediction by financial experts that prices are likely to increase again next year. So far, Norton Finance estimates that the average household could see a £150 increase in their energy bills.
For those worried about the impact of the cap increase, Norton Finance has put together some suggestions to cut energy costs. To truly see an impact on your energy bills, it’s probably best to combine a number of energy-saving home improvements.
Some changes require a larger upfront investment but will result in bigger long-term savings. Others will require patience, as you’ll only recoup the costs after several years. But even the smallest and cheapest changes can help you save money.
Look into solar energy
Solar panels installed on your rooftop can significantly reduce (if not replace) the amount of energy you’ll need to buy from utility suppliers. But they’re expensive – and depending on how much sunlight you actually get, it can take years before you recoup the investment.
An easier compromise to save on energy bills is to go for smaller systems that provide energy for a few smaller things. For example, look into getting a solar water heater or outdoor solar lights. These don’t require major structural changes to your home, so they are cheaper to implement but will still save you some money over time.
Draught-proof the entire house
Draught proofing is the cheapest change you can make to lower your energy bills. Start by sealing any gaps around your door and window frames.
Don’t forget your chimney, if you have one, and add a draught excluder at the bottom of your front door. Letterboxes, loft hatches and keyholes are worth considering too.
Insulate, insulate, insulate
If you can only afford to insulate one thing in the house, going for the roof will be cheapest. But insulating your walls will reduce your energy bills even more. Windows with double glazing also provide great insulation and, while expensive, will also save you a lot of money in the long run.
You can even insulate pipes and radiators to reduce heat loss. And you can also wrap a British Standard cylinder jacket around your water tank to insulate it and reduce energy consumption.
Getting help with your energy bills
If you’re struggling financially, there is help available for your energy bills. Before you try anything else, consider switching your energy supplier for a better deal. This is particularly important if you’re currently paying out-of-contract rates.
You might also qualify for ’emergency credit’ if you have a prepay meter and cannot afford to top up. Call your supplier directly or check out the Ofgem website for tips. Your supplier must work with you to set up a payment plan and give you more time to pay if you need it.
Low-income households might qualify for rebates, schemes or grants to reduce their energy bills. And you can always contact Citizens Advice if you need additional support.
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