Is your hairdryer costing you more than the kids’ PlayStation? Here’s a fun way to spend a few minutes – and learn something at the same time. There’s an online game from home interiors company Hillarys here. You have to rank household appliances according to how much they cost over a year. Some fun facts: apparently it costs £30.94 to run a PlayStation 4 over a year compared with £15.52 for a Wii and a halogen bulb costs £8.42 a year compared with £1.71 for a LED bulb.
And frankly, any saving you can make on your home fuel bills the better. This week, SSE fell into line with the rest of the big home energy companies and announced price increases. These are significant increases: gas up by 5.7% and electricity by 7.7% on 11 July – adding an average of £76 a year for SSE’s 2.36 million customers on variable deals.
This week 4.1 million British Gas customers faced a 5.5% hike – a typical increase of £60 a year. Scottish Power upped its prices by 5.5% or £63 on average for one million customers; EDF’s 1.2 million customers on variable rates pay 2.7% more from 7 June and Npower’s one million see a 5.3% increase (typically £64 a year) from 17 June. E.On’s prices went up typically by £22 in April.
The government has criticised the latest price rise with Energy Minister Claire Perry telling the BBC that it is “extremely disappointing” that SSE has made this “unjustified price rise – the highest yet from the Big Six – ahead of the new law coming into effect later this year”. That law will put a cap on some variable rate tariffs.
The minister encouraged customers to “vote with their feet” saying the typical customer can save £300 from moving from the bog standard variable rate tariff with the Big Six to a cheaper deal. This is undoubtedly a good idea (and see our guide to switching energy suppliers here) because why would you pay more for gas and electricity than you need to? It’s not as if there’s a difference in the actual gas or electricity you get from each company – although there might be issues about the differing levels of service between providers.
Finding the best deal for your home energy is easy enough as long as you have a recent bill to hand. Use a comparison site or the Money Saving Expert Cheap Energy Club here which will alert you when it’s worth moving tariff. I must admit I haven’t swapped suppliers for ages – but I do swap tariffs regularly and am currently smugly sitting on a fixed rate deal. But it’s still expensive and I do try to keep an eye on our usage: which is why the Hillarys game is useful as well as fun.