In the face of rising energy costs, we created Operation Lightbulb to help you keep utility costs to a minimum by sharing useful hints and tips to help save energy and reduce your bills.
Money saving hints and tips
- You can save around £60 a year just be remembering to turn your appliances off standby mode
- Keeping your shower time to four minutes could save you £75 a year
- Avoid overfilling the kettle and save yourself £37 a year
- Save around £30 a year by washing at 30 degrees and reducing your washing machine use by one run per week for a year
- Turning off your lights when you leave a room will save you around £25 a year. Switching to LED bulbs could help you save even more
- Turning down your thermostat by one degree could save you £100 a year
Following these simple steps below could save you £227 per year.
(All data from the Energy Saving Trust)
Do you have a smart meter?
Smart meters are next-generation gas and electricity meters. As well as being available at no upfront cost, they offer a number of benefits over traditional meters:
- Automatic meter readings
- No more estimated bills
- In home display showing usage in pounds and pence
Paying your energy bills by direct debit
Paying by direct debit is usually about £125 cheaper a year on average than any other way of paying. For maximum savings:
- Always give meter readings. Give your supplier regular meter readings and it’ll give you a more accurate bill. If you don’t, you may ﬁnd you’re paying for high estimates.
- Smart meters. These send meter readings to your supplier automatically so you should get an accurate bill. Some older models lose this ability after you switch supplier though, so you may need to start doing it manually again.
If you use heating oil to heat your home, instead of gas or electricity, it’s different. Paying by direct debit won’t get you a discount but it can be convenient as it allows you to spread the costs.
Ask for a payment plan if you're struggling to pay off debt
If you do ﬁnd yourself in debt, talk to your supplier as soon as you can. If you just ignore the debt, your supplier could contact you about the possibility of installing prepayment meters.
According to the regulator, suppliers must work with you to agree a payment plan you can afford.
Payment plans have to factor in both your ﬁnancial circumstances and your ability to pay. The debt is then repaid over a number of months alongside what you pay for your ongoing energy use.
You could also get payment breaks or direct debit reductions, more time to pay, and access to supplier hardship funds.
Source of information: Martin Lewis Money Saving Expert
Benefits to help cover the cost of your energy prices
Warm Home Discount
You could get £150 off your electricity bill for winter 2023 to 2024 under the Warm Home Discount Scheme.
The money is not paid to you; it’s a one-off discount on your electricity bill, between October 2022 and March 2023.
You may be able to get the discount on your gas bill instead if your supplier provides you with both gas and electricity and you’re eligible. Contact your supplier to ﬁnd out.
Winter fuel payment
If you were born before 25 September 1957 you could get between £250 and £600 to help you pay your heating bills. This is known as a ‘Winter Fuel Payment’.
The amount you’ll get includes a ‘Pensioner Cost of Living Payment’. This is between £150 and £300. You’ll only get this extra amount
in winter 2023 to 2024. This is in addition to any Cost of Living Payment you get with your beneﬁt or tax credits.
You will get your Winter Fuel Payment automatically (you do not need to claim) if you’re eligible by age and usually living in the UK.
If you’ve got a Winter Fuel Payment before, you do not need to claim again unless you’ve deferred your State Pension or moved abroad.
Cold Weather Payment
You may get a Cold Weather Payment if you’re getting certain beneﬁts or support for mortgage interest.
You’ll get a payment if the average temperature in your area is recorded as, or forecast to be, zero degrees Celsius or below over seven consecutive days.
You’ll get £25 for each seven day period of very cold weather between 1 November and 31 March.
The Cold Weather Payment scheme runs from 1 November 2023. Check if you can get a payment in your area.
For more information about any of the benefits, www.gov.uk.
What to do if you're struggling to pay your energy bills
Don’t struggle alone, the best thing to do if you are struggling to pay your energy bills is to speak to your supplier. They will discuss ways in which they can support you to pay what you owe.
You should negotiate a deal that works for both of you but be careful not to promise an amount you cannot afford.
Extra ﬁnancial support is out there. Several energy companies offer grants and schemes that are open to anyone (you do not need to be a customer).
There are also charitable trusts that offer grants to help you pay off your debts such as Charis Grants (recommended by Citizens Advice).