You are probably used to seeing roughly the same amount of money on your electricity each time it arrives in the post, and you may think that there is not much more that you can do in order to reduce the amount your household is currently paying. However, if you combine some simple lifestyle changes with a well-time investigation into your current approach to paying for energy, you could end up saving hundreds of pounds on electricity every single year. With this extra money in your pocket, you will have more freedom to do things like plan holidays and buy new items for your home. As a bonus, you will know that you are doing something to help the environment at the same time. Read on to discover how you can reduce the cost of your electricity bill by systematically making effective but straightforward changes.
1) Start by looking at the way you pay for your electricity:
If you currently pay for your electricity by cash or cheque every month, you should strongly consider arranging to pay your bills over the internet instead. Many electricity companies offer surprisingly generous discounts for their online customers, and you may find the online system more convenient into the bargain. Secondly, it is worth considering using the same provider for your gas and electricity (if you do not already do so); ‘dual fuel’ discounts are common, and these can save you a decent amount of money each year.
2) Turn off all electronic devices:
You probably know that you could save some money by being more vigilant about your appliances, but you may underestimate just how much of a difference it could make. To see how much you could save, try changing your habits for a few months and then see how this new approach influences your energy bill. All you need to do is to remember to turn off phone chargers, televisions, camera battery chargers, computers, DVD players, stereos, and everything else that you might normally consider leaving in standby mode. Some people find that plugging all of their appliances into large power strips makes it easier to stick to the habit of switching off appliances, as you can turn everything off by flicking just one switch.
3) Find out if you are eligible for any benefits:
If you are over the age of 61, then you are currently eligible for the Winter Fuel Payment regardless how much money you are earning. Facts about your current circumstances will determine precisely how much money you get each year, but the amount will be between £200 and £300 (and it is tax-free). Further, you might end up being eligible for the Cold Weather benefit, which you will receive if the temperature falls below zero for more than a week.
4) Adopt a new approach to lighting:
Around 19% of the average electricity bill comes directly from the use of lights in the household. If you choose to install energy-saving light bulbs in all of your rooms, you could shave more than £55 off the yearly total that you pay for your electricity. In addition, these types of bulbs have longer lives, so you have to buy replacements on a much less regular basis. Further to changing the type of bulbs that you use, you will benefit from cultivating a habit of turning all lights off the second that they are not being used. For example, leave your home in darkness when you make a quick trip to the local grocery store, and only turn the light on in the hallway when you need to climb the stairs.
5) Look into buying an energy monitor:
If you are not sure what is responsible for the current size of your electricity bill, an energy monitor may be able to shed some light on your situation. These small, handheld devices provide real time estimates of your energy usage and help you to figure out when and where to cut back. Ask your electricity company if they supply these monitors for free. If you find out that you will need to buy one, consider that the £40 is easily worth it if you end up saving hundreds each year.
6) Try to heat yourself instead of the house in the colder months:
Electricity bills can really spike during the winter when it feels like the only sensible thing to do is to turn the heating up to a high setting. However, the average electricity bill can be dramatically reduced if you make a conscious choice to keep the heating at a lower setting. All you have to do to feel comfortable is to put on slightly thicker clothes while you are relaxing indoors, and for extra cosiness you can consider investing in a hot water bottle that you can sit on your lap when you are working or watching television. By turning your heating down to 19 degrees or lower, you could save over £50 every year. In addition, thicker blankets on the beds can allow you to choose an even lower setting at night.
7) Make a habit of reading your own meter:
Estimated bills can have a seriously detrimental influence on your electricity bill, as your household may well be using much less in a year than your supplier assumes. To avoid this common problem, offer your provider with your own meter readings every three months.
8) Research other electricity suppliers
Finally, it may be the case that the best way for you to cut the cost of your electricity is to seek out a new provider who is offering a much better tariff. In particular, if you have not changed your supplier for a few years then it is highly likely that there is a newer and more affordable deal waiting somewhere out there. A quick online search using a comparison website can reveal which companies might be good contenders in your search for the cheapest electricity.