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How can I save energy at home?

If you’re worried about your energy bills and energy consumption, there are various steps you can take to reduce your energy usage. These steps, discussed in more detail below, can generally be categorised into:

  • making changes to your household routines and appliances to reduce your energy consumption

  • making physical changes to your property. If you own your own home, you may be able to get financial support. If you rent your home, you can speak to your landlord about making such improvements

  • seeking specialist advice

What practical steps can I take to reduce my energy bills?

Action

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Make changes around your household to reduce the amount of energy required for day-to-day tasks like heating and laundry. Consider:

  • switching light bulbs to energy-saving light bulbs

  • setting heating or cooling systems to store energy during the night (when energy is cheaper) and then release it gradually throughout the day

  • ensuring appliances and cables (eg phone chargers) are turned off at the wall when not in use

  • using a dishwasher rather than washing dishes by hand - using dishwashers when they’re full can actually save energy

  • using your appliances more efficiently (eg waiting to turn on your dishwasher until it's full or washing your laundry at a lower temperature)

  • adding rugs to uncovered floors and curtains to windows to help keep heat in

  • adjusting your habits (eg by taking shorter showers or turning thermostats up or down a degree)

  • only turning on your heating or air conditioning/fans when they’re needed - leaving heating or cooling on low all day usually uses more energy than turning it on higher when necessary

 

Use an energy efficiency calculator to find ways that you can reduce your energy usage. These calculators suggest energy reduction measures based on your living situation and estimate the financial savings each change could bring.  

 

Make physical changes to your property. If you own your home, consider making improvements to reduce the amount of energy you need to heat or cool your home. If you rent your home, consider asking your landlord to make such improvements. 

Potential improvements include: 

  • installing solar panels to generate renewable energy (use a Solar Energy Calculator to estimate how much money you could save by doing this)

  • ensuring you have appropriate insulation (eg double-glazed windows)

  • replacing old boilers as they cost more to run

  • upgrading to more efficient appliances (eg heaters and washing machines)

  • draught proofing to keep heat inside your home (eg add flaps or weighted pillows to gaps in your windows, doors, and chimneys)

  • installing a smart meter, to ensure accurate energy bills and to help you monitor your own energy usage. If you are a residential landlord or tenant, familiarise yourself with the rules around smart tech in rental properties.

 

Get help financing property improvements. You may be able to take out a loan for the cost of certain energy-saving home improvements (eg replacing windows and upgrading heating systems) if you work with a Green Deal provider. This loan will be paid back gradually via a charge added to your energy bills. For more information, read the government’s guidance.

For more information about energy efficiency in the home, ready Energy performance certificates (EPCs) and Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards for residential properties.  

 

Consider changing energy suppliers or tariffs (ie rates) to get lower energy prices. Ofgem (the body that regulates energy suppliers) provides advice on how you can change energy suppliers or tariffs safely. 

Bear in mind that, if your fixed tariff is coming to an end, you may save money by being switched automatically to your current supplier’s default tariff. Default tariffs are limited by the government’s Energy Price Guarantee. This sets the maximum charge an average household in the UK will pay for energy at £1,834 from 1 October to 31 December 2023. From 1 January 2024, the energy price cap will rise to £1,928 per year. 

 

Consider changing your energy bill payment method. It is usually cheaper to pay energy bills by direct debit as many energy providers offer small discounts on direct debit payments.

If you’re in credit, you can ask your energy provider to refund you some of your accumulated credit and/or to lower your direct debit payments (eg to reflect your annual usage and meter readings).

 

Ask your energy supplier for help with your energy bills. Energy suppliers are required to take your individual circumstances into account in relation to your energy bills. If you ask them to, energy suppliers must:

  • work with you to agree on an affordable Energy repayment plan. If you owe them money

  • review your payments (and debt repayments) to ensure that they are correct and up to date

  • consider giving you more time to pay a bill or a debt

  • consider giving you a payment break or payment reduction

  • provide advice on how to access hardship funds (see below) and on how to use less energy

  • help you with priority service registration, to give you access to support with energy-related tasks (eg meter reading)

 

Seek professional advice on reducing your energy use from, for example: 

  • WASH - a charity offering free energy saving advice by phone, webchat, or online referral

  • Energy Saving Trust - an independent organisation working with the government to address energy issues 

  • Groundwork Green Doctors - provides free energy saving advice appointments

  • LEAP - offers free energy-saving advice. If you are eligible for this service, an organisation (eg Citizens’ Advice) can refer you 

 

Get support from the government. For example:

 

Apply for charitable grants (also known as ‘hardship funds’) if you can’t cover your energy costs. You will need to fill in application forms and provide information about your financial situation. 

Find out more about available grants from Citizens’ AdviceNational Energy Action and Turn2us. Some local councils also provide energy grants.  

 

What documents can I use to organise property alterations and payment arrangements?

If you’re a landlord, consider using a Landlord consent to alterations letter to allow your tenants to make specified changes to their rental property. If you receive a Letter proposing payment in instalments from a tenant and agree with their request, consider responding with a Letter accepting payment in instalments. If your tenant asks for a rent holiday and permission to delay rental payments and you agree, use a Rent repayment agreement to act as a record of the rent deferral. 

If you’re struggling to make payments on your energy bills, consider using an Energy repayment plan to arrange an affordable payment plan with your energy provider. If you are struggling to make any other payments, consider using a Letter proposing payment in instalments to propose a repayment schedule. For more information, read Repayment agreements.

If you’re in doubt about your rights regarding energy bills or debt, don’t hesitate to Ask a lawyer for further guidance.


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