Power down on energy bills

Easy ways to pay less for gas and electricity

1. First, look at the other tariffs on offer from your existing provider. Sadly the best are usually reserved for new customers. But, as you are likely to be on the standard variable rate which is the most expensive, there could be a better deal.

2. Still not satisfied? You can shop around at websites such as www.uswitch.com or MoneySuperMarket*. Once you've found a deal you like, it's easy to switch. Bear in mind these sites are paid a commission for each customer who switches. Potentially cheaper deals, from smaller firms which can’t afford to be on the sites, may not be listed. 

3. If you can't be bothered to keep switching yourself, sign up for a service which does it for you. With Flipper, your energy contract is checked four times a year for a small fee and automatically moved to the best deal available. Cheap Energy Club on the Money Saving Expert website has a similar service for free although they are paid commission by the energy firms.

4. Give the energy company your own meter readings so they can produce a bill based on your actual usage. Otherwise they’ll charge you according to their estimates, which could be a lot more. You can get a smart meter fitted (for free) to do this, although some consumers have reported problems with the new devices.

5. Paying by monthly direct debit is cheaper than by cash or cheque. If you find that you’re always in credit, you’re overpaying. You can ask your provider to return the money and to lower your monthly payment. The most expensive way to pay is by prepayment key, card or token.

6. The secret to lower energy bills is a turn off – literally. If you’re not using it, flip the switch on the wall. Electronics on standby, especially computers and entertainment systems, use up a surprising amount of electricity.

7. Choose energy-saving products. Energy-efficient light bulbs can be swopped for traditional fittings while eco-shower heads (sometimes available at a discount from water firms) can reduce water usage.

8. If your house is draughty, your money is genuinely flying out of the window. Make big savings by draught-proofing windows and doors and/or insulating your loft and wall cavities. Be aware that some improvements can take a long time to pay for themselves.

9. There is no point heating the house in the day if you’re out at work. Get a thermostat or upgrade your existing one so you can control the timing and temperature of your heating more accurately. Zone your home by turning the radiators off or down in the rooms you aren’t using.

10. ‘Smart heating’ lets you control your thermostat and even individual radiators remotely, such as on the way home from work. But it’s expensive. If you’re diligent enough already, you might not save a great deal with the new gadget.

 

More stuff:

  • Citizens Advice can tell you everything you need to know about switching suppliers here
  • Click here for top tips from the Energy Savings Trust. 
  • For a rundown on smart heating and thermostats, check out the MoneySavingExpert guide here.  

 

Last updated: 8 September 2018.