Hit with sticker shock every time your electric bill hits your doorstep or is withdrawn from your account? You can start reducing your monthly electric bill today, with a few efficiency-boosting, cost-saving measures.
Many of these money-saving tactics have the added benefit of reducing your electric consumption and thus your carbon footprint, meaning you can save the planet while saving pounds.
1. Switch suppliers
Ofgem research has found that you can save up to £300 a year by switching to another energy supplier, especially if you’ve been with your current supplier for more than three years. Most fixed energy tariffs last just three years and after that date, unless you take action, you’ll automatically be moved to your supplier’s standard or default tariff—which will generally be more expensive than the deal that got you to sign up in the first place. Use an energy comparison service to find the cheapest offer available in your area. Take advantage of the introductory offers suppliers use to lure in switchers but make sure you read the fine print—prices can rise steeply after the first year.
2. Find saving with your current supplier
Say you’re happy with your supplier—they’re cost competitive and you like their customer service. You can save money while sticking with them by ensuring you’re on the cheapest tariff they offer. If you want the same provider for your electricity and gas, a dual fuel tariff will save you money. But if you don’t mind having separate providers, you may be able to find a cheaper electricity and gas tariffs from different suppliers. You can also rack up discounts from your supplier by setting up a direct debit and opting for ‘paperless’ billing.
3. Swap your lights—or turn them off
LED light bulbs cost more than standard bulbs but are ten times as efficient. If you swap every bulb in your home for an LED light, you can trim up £240 from your electrical bill. But you don’t need every room fully lit al the time. Turn off the lights and throw back your curtains on sunny days. Install dimmer switches and enjoy ‘mood lighting’ in the evening, while burning less electricity. And, yes, remember what your mother said, switch off lights in the rooms you’re not using and before you leave the house.
4. Use energy efficient appliances
When replacing an old appliance, seek out those with the best EU energy-efficiency ratings. You may pay more upfront for more efficient models, but they can trim hundreds off your electricity consumption over their lifetime.
Additionally, make sure your appliances are switched off, or even unplugged, when not in use and only run washer-driers and dishwashers with full loads. Washing your clothes in cooler water can also help curb electrical consumption—90% of a washing machine’s energy use is spent on heating water.
5. Unplug your devices
If they’re plugged into an outlet, your TV, computer, game console, and all your assorted chargers are still consuming electricity, whether they’re in use or not. Kick these phantom consumers off your energy bill by simply unplugging anything you don’t use regularly.
6. Monitor your electricity use
An energy monitor can help you keep track of how much electricity your and your appliances are sipping and identify cost-saving opportunities. Studies have shown energy monitors can save you between £25 and £75 a year, but it all comes down to how closely you check them and how vigilant you are about making changes.
7. Generate your own electricity
Install solar panels or a small domestic wind turbine and generate your own electricity. A feed-in tariff can also allow you to sell power back to the grid—so you can actually make money rather than spend it.
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