Ofgem recently announced that the energy price cap will increase by £693 come April – that’s a whopping 54%! In addition, the devastating events occurring in Ukraine could see prices increase further still from October.
There are fears that these energy price rises could plunge more and more households into fuel poverty, and put businesses under even more pressure.
To help you make your money go further, we’ve compiled several energy-efficiency tips you can implement at home and at the office. But to begin with, we wanted to summarise why the price cap is being raised.
Why Are Prices Going Up?
Gas and electricity prices have rocketed during the course of last year and there is a combination of reasons for this. Two of the
key reasons are that the pandemic has led to a supply shortage whilst a cold winter has meant there’s been a high demand for energy.
The price cap is in place to protect consumers and prevent energy companies from making a profit that’s deemed too excessive. However, the huge increase in the price of gas and electricity means that many energy companies are going bust as they’re paying more for energy than they can charge for it. Therefore the price cap has been changed to reflect this.
According to Ofgem, “The increase is driven by a record rise in global gas prices over the last 6 months, with wholesale prices quadrupling in the last year.” You can see a visual representation of this in the graphs below.
So what can you do now ahead of the price increases to reduce your gas and electricity expenditure?
What Can I Do At Home To Reduce Energy Bills?
1 Switch more
Switching energy suppliers can seem like quite the hassle but it’s actually a lot easier and quicker than you think and you could find a much better deal so it really is worth having a shop around, if you’re able to.
Unfortunately we as a nation aren’t very good at switching energy suppliers. In fact, around two thirds of us are on the worst-value tariffs! (Although there is evidence to suggest that this is beginning to improve.) If you’d like to learn more about switching, Compare The Market has a very useful guide.
2 Improve your property’s insulation
There are various ways you can improve the insulation around your home to minimise the amount of heat escaping, especially in older properties. This might include draught-proofing, improving the roof or wall insulation, or changing your windows to either double or triple glazing. Speak to a professional and see where your property is falling short on insulation. A well-insulated home can make all the difference when it comes to energy bills!
3 Replace your old boiler
When you think about how much your boiler is involved in the heating of your home, this one is a no-brainer. Older boilers tend to be less efficient and often require more gas to keep your home heated. The Energy Saving Trust states that switching to an A-rated boiler could give you an annual saving of up to £340!
4 Swap to LEDs
A little switch like this can make a big difference. LEDs require less electricity and tend to have a longer lifespan than other light bulbs, both saving you money pretty much instantly. LEDs used to be substantially more expensive to purchase than other types of bulbs, but they’re much more accessible and affordable nowadays.
5 Upgrade your appliances
When an appliance conks out or it’s time for an upgrade, consider investing in a product that’s more energy efficient. Yes, the upfront costs may be more but you’ll likely save a lot of money on energy bills in the long run.
It’s also worth being mindful about how you use certain appliances, such as the washing machine, tumble dryer and dishwasher, as this can help you reduce your energy costs. Aim to only use these sorts of appliances when they’re full, and wash at lower temperatures if possible.
6 Install a smart meter
Installing a smart meter is a great way to monitor how much you’re actually spending and on what. This gives you a clear insight into what changes you can implement to reduce your energy bills, plus you’ll be able to see the impact of these changes in action!
What Can I Do At The Office To Reduce Energy Bills?
Most of the above suggestions can be applied to your office or business environment too, plus…
1 Turn off laptops/computers and other devices
There’s a myth that leaving computers on uses less energy than when they power up. Because of this, many workplaces request that employees leave their laptops or computers on overnight – that’s roughly 16 hours a day where they’re not being used! This can actually cost you £35 a year per desk!
The same rule applies for other devices too, such as printers, scanners and even vending machines: if they don’t need to be left on, switch them off when they’re not in use.
2 Turn off lights
Many offices keep all of their lights on 24 hours a day, contributing to a lot of energy waste. Try to encourage your employees to turn off unnecessary lights when rooms are left vacant or, better still, install motion sensors to do this automatically.
If you’re leaving your office lights on overnight for security reasons, you may wish to invest in a security system that can record in the dark when movement is detected. Not only will this help to reduce your energy bills but it could also help bring down insurance costs too!
3 Be more efficient with your heating/air-con
The temperature of the office can be a controversial topic in any workplace. You’ll always find some people are too hot whilst others are too cold. Try to keep a consistent temperature and move your employees who are usually too cold closer to heat sources and those who are usually too warm towards cooler spots.
In addition, make sure you regularly get your heating appliances serviced to ensure they’re not working harder than they need to be. Take a look around your radiators and other heat sources. Are there any objects in the way of them that could be blocking or absorbing the heat?
4 Go paperless
Making the change from printing everything to only printing things that are absolutely essential will not only help you cut your energy bills but you’ll also save money on paper and ink, which can be a small fortune in itself! There are now so many programs you can use to store and share documents electronically, making printing – for the most part – a thing of the past.
So there you have it! These energy-saving tips will not only save you money but will help save the planet too. Which ones will you be implementing first?