With the UK now on lockdown many of us are spending more time at home and worrying about energy bills on top of the general emotional and financial strain of the pandemic.
If you are worried about meeting any bill payments or topping up credit on a pre-payment meter please contact your supplier. If you are vulnerable please contact your energy and water supplier about the priority services register. For more covid-19 related energy guidance read here.
Households with workers now working from home or kids now home from school will typically see a higher energy consumption with higher: kettle usage, cooking related energy use, computer and phone energy consumption and lighting and heating.
You may be worried about higher energy costs from this lockdown, however for many there could also be savings from travel costs and other expenses could balance this out.
Follow the tips to save energy and money:
Energy and Money Saving Tips
Tariffs & Suppliers
You could be paying more for your energy by being on a more expensive tariff. Typically fixed rated tariffs are cheaper than a standard variable tariff. Check your bill to see what tariff you are on, then contact your supplier to see if there are cheaper tariffs available.
- You will often be put onto a standard variable tariff at the end of your contract remember to check when your contract is up
- You may also consider switching suppliers if an independent switching site recommends it could save you money. Check out switching here.
- If you have separate gas and electricity tariffs you could investigate a dual tariff as many energy suppliers offer these and they can be cheaper than separate tariffs.
- Before making any decisions or switching if you are in a contract check any exit fees and if the switching savings are greater than these fees.
- If you are on an Economy 7 tariff try charging items at night when the rate is cheaper. More on economy 7 here.
Working from home:
- Electronic devices: check all devices are on ‘energy savings mode’ and unplug them when not charging. Don’t charge your phone all night – most phones only take a few hours to charge!
- Try pick the warmest room in the house for your ‘office’.
- Make sure there isn’t furniture covering any main heating sources. This will block the heat from heating the room.
- Pick somewhere with natural light (but without glare on screens) if possible to avoid need for artificial lighting.
- Body temperature drops when we are stationary so if possible try a morning and lunchtime exercise activity to keep boost temperatures.
- Try plan lessons based on any printed materials they may have.
- Concerned about kids’ consoles and gaming energy consumption? Try get the family to do watch any films together on the one device rather than all in separate rooms and using more energy.
- Handwashing – Many of us want to wash dishes as soon as they are done so our kitchens don’t look messy but it is more efficient to wash them in larger batches. For those sharing etc this may not be suitable but compromise may be possible.
- Dishwashers – similar with running the dishwasher it is most efficient to put on when it’s fully loaded however this will depend on the household’s routine.
- If you have stocked up on a large amount of perishable goods you may want to batch cook and freeze portions to reduce cooking time and therefore energy use. This also stops perishable good from spoiling.
- When filling the kettle or a pan on the hob only fill the required amount, overfilling will require more energy to heat a larger volume of water.
- Choose appropriate sized pans when cooking and using lids will also save energy.
- Low energy use meals can be cereal, sandwiches etc.
- Try not to overpack and air needs to circulate to keep items at even, cool temperatures.
- Defrost items in the fridge if you have time. This will help keep the fridge temperature cool for less energy.
- Don’t put hot meals straight into the fridge as this will raise the overall temperate triggering the refrigeration energy to increase.
Investigate if your washing machine has an ‘eco’ setting. Most modern washing machines have these.
- Many of us will be washing items more frequently with hygiene and contamination concerns. Keep laundry in a separate bag or basket and wash at 40 if you have hygiene concerns.
- Slower pace – Now with a slower-paced lifestyle you may have time to dry washing naturally and even outside if possible. Where possible dry washing outside as breathing in the moisture molecules can be harmful to breathe in.
Check your thermostat and boiler setting programme. Do you want to adjust this to reflect your new work patterns. Tip: have you checked the time on your boiler is right after the clocks changed this week? Recommended thermostat settings are between 18 & 21 degrees Celsius. You could save up to £85 a year by turning your thermostat down just 1 degree.
- Remember to turn the tap off when brushing your teeth. Energy is used to treat water to make it save to come out the tap.
- It could be tempting to use any saved commuting time for longer in the shower but try a timer to keep you on track and how water use down.
- On warmer days you may way to use natural ventilation from open windows instead of an extractor fan.
- If you are interested in comparing the energy usage of appliances then there are typically ratings here.
- Your appliances at home may vary depending on how energy efficient they are. There is a EU derived white goods rating system to help consumer recognise this easily. You may have seen these labels on appliances; a rainbow style sticker with A – G ratings with A being the most efficient.
- It’s also important to keep areas of moisture production like kitchens and bathrooms well ventilated. If you don’t have an extractor fan, having the windows open during and after cooking and showering can help.
- Where possible try drying washing outside or in well ventilated rooms.
- For more advice on damp & condensation please see our extended guidance.
You can also read our ‘How to Save Energy at Home Page’ here.
If you are still worried, contact:
By Louise Hyde