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How to save money on energy

It's never a bad time to reduce your energy usage. But when utility bills and living costs are on the rise, it becomes a higher priority.

Here are some energy-saving tips, to help lower your bills.

Everyday energy-saving tips

The first step to saving money on energy is to understand what you’re spending.

A smart meter tells you how much gas and electricity you’re using in real time. 

Find out more about getting a smart meter.

If you can't get a smart meter, look at your bills and check how much you use against what's expected for similar households.

Once you’ve worked out how much energy you’re using and how much it’s costing you, there are plenty of quick wins that might help you reduce it. For example, you could use:

  • timers for electrical devices
  • dimmer switches for lighting
  • low-energy light bulbs
  • smart thermostats

Other simple steps could help, such as not leaving gadgets on standby and using draught excluders to keep your home warm. 

Sometimes, you might be able to make savings just by making better choices in the home, for example:

Shower or bath?

The Energy Saving Trust says a typical household in England, Scotland or Wales could save £75 a year on their energy bills (£65 in Northern Ireland) keeping showers to 4 minutes.

They could also save £17 a year (£14 in Northern Ireland) by swapping one bath per week for a 4-minute shower.

High or low temperature washing?

Avoid putting your washing machine onto a higher setting. Most detergents work perfectly well at lower temperatures like 30 degrees. You could save money by using an eco-wash setting and waiting until you have a full load of washing.

Hanging clothes to dry where possible, rather than using a tumble dryer, can also save you money.

Laptop or desktop computer?

If you have a desktop computer and a laptop - consider using the laptop instead. Laptops typically use a lot less power, according to the Energy Saving Trust, so this could make a big energy saving if you're working from home. 

A laptop can also give you the freedom to move to warmer areas of your home, so there's no need to feel tempted to turn up the heating if you're in a cold room.

Energy price rises

The energy regulator Ofgem sets a price cap limiting the amount suppliers are allowed to charge for gas and electricity in England, Wales and Scotland. There’s a separate energy market in Northern Ireland.

But millions of households have had to cope with much higher bills because of increasing energy prices.

The government brought in an Energy Price Guarantee, which will remain in place until the end of March 2024 as a further safety net.

While some cheaper deals may no longer be available, it can still be worth comparing energy suppliers to make sure you’ve got the best deal you can.  

If your previous energy supplier was forced to close down – wait for your account to move over, and the new supplier to contact you, before switching supplier or tariff.

You can read more about what to do in this case on the Citizens Advice website. 

Switching energy supplier

According to research by the consumer group Which? - switching energy supplier is one of the most straightforward ways to save money.

You can get advice on how to do this from Ofgem. It has a list of accredited price comparison websites as well as tips on how to shop around.

Citizens Advice also has a guide to switching energy supplier, which includes guidance on what to do if you’re a tenant or in debt.

Government support

If you’re struggling with heating costs, you might qualify for government support. 

The Warm Home Discount Scheme means you could get a winter discount on your heating bills if you receive Pension Credit or are on a low income.

If you were born on or before 26 September 1957, you could be entitled to a Winter Fuel Payment (between £250 and £600) to help you pay your heating bills.

Energy-efficient home improvements

To find out what else you can do – including generating your own renewable energy and other home improvements – read our guide on how to make your home more energy-efficient.