With the Office of Gas and Electricity Markets (Ofgem) declaring a shocking price cap rise of 54%, more homes than ever may have to make a terrible decision come winter. Will it be heating or eating?
According to Ofgem, the rise will affect an estimated 22 million people from 1st April. Homes on default tariffs will pay a whopping £693 extra per year, whereas prepayment customers will pay a nerve-wracking £708 more.
Why the Sudden Hike in Energy Prices?
Lower-income households are now more likely to suffer fuel poverty as they’re forced to spend a higher proportion of their already tight income on utility bills.
International factors are a significant cause of the energy crisis. For example, last winter showed a higher demand for gas in Europe, China, and other parts of Asia. This need diminished stored gas supplies and equally perpetuated the market.
Combine this with the reduced Russian pipeline gas supplies and the collapse of 28 energy firms, and you get a decline in available power supplies and higher wholesale energy prices.
Even more worryingly, the current war between Russia and Ukraine threatens to raise prices further.
Reducing your Energy Costs
These factors are out of your control, but there are ways to ensure you can at least have some influence over your energy costs.
Some of the simplest and most effective methods include;
- Requesting a smart meter with an in-home display to monitor your energy usage. Doing so allows you to make minor tweaks to your energy usage to reduce your costs.
- Optimising the efficiency of your radiators by ensuring furniture or curtains are not blocking their heat output. Keeping your curtains closed is a great way to maximise heat retention
- Turning down your thermostat as far as is comfortable; even reducing the set temperature by just one degree lower can knock up to £60 per year off your gas bill.
- Installing a smart thermostat, such as a Hive or Nest. These devices allow you to control your heating and hot water through your phone or other devices. You won’t be able to track your usage, but setting a timer and adjusting your heating or water from anywhere is easy. This factor is ideal for those who forget to turn their heating off regularly.
- Buying energy-saving lightbulbs such as LEDs (Light Emitting Diodes). These are much more efficient and cheaper to run than halogen bulbs.
- Always turning the lights off when you leave a room.
- Switching off any appliances on standby. Many don’t realise that switching appliances off at the plug saves energy: as much as £35 per year.
- Trying batch cooking. If you’re part of a large family, it can be helpful to cook in batches to limit the amount of time your oven is on.
- Washing at 30 degrees Celsius rather than 40 can considerably decrease your yearly energy bill.
- Avoiding using the tumble dryer. Instead, hang your clothes on a washing line or clothes horse to improve your energy bills.
Thank you for reading ‘Heating or Eating – Which Will You Choose?’, for more Community articles, click here.