The increased cost of energy has come alongside a rapid increase in the price of other essentials like food and fuel, amounting to a cost of living crisis.
Further rises in the cost of energy are expected in October when the price cap is likely to increase by £800 to an average of £2,800 a year.
With summer approaching, many households will be able to keep the thermostat down to save money. However, the cost of cooking and heating up water will still contribute to the cost of your energy bill.
If you’re looking for ways to keep costs down over the next few months, we’ve rounded up all the tips you need to conserve energy at home to keep your energy bill as low as possible.
We’ve also put together advice on where to turn if you’re struggling with paying your energy bill.
What’s driving the energy crisis?
For several months, high demand for oil and gas around the world has led to a spike in prices. The war in Ukraine has further exacerbated the trend.
One of the most obvious ways to save on heating costs is to only crank up the thermostat when you need it, as well as taking shorter showers (as energy is used to heat the water).
Draughty houses, however, can make it hard for a building to retain heat – so having thick curtains on your windows and keeping internal doors closed is one way of trapping heat.
If you live in private or social housing and claim certain benefits you may be eligible for the Affordable Warmth Obligation, a scheme under which the government helps pay the cost of insulation work or upgrading your heating in other ways.
You can find out more about this scheme, and others you may be eligible for, on the government’s energy advice website.
Another way to keep an eye on costs is to see whether your energy supplier can give you a smart meter – this allows you to see how much you’re spending on a live meter.
Aside from heating, there are a few ways you can keep down the costs of using your oven or stove. These include:
Putting a lid on your saucepans while cooking
If you can afford to do so, batch cook meals to get more food out of one cooking session, or cook several things at once when using your oven
Only boil as much water as you need
If you have a microwave, cooking food in it can save on energy. You can microwave a potato to bake it in far less time than using the oven, for example
You should be able to negotiate a payment plan which works for you and the supplier should take into account how much you can afford to pay.
Citizens Advice offers a budgeting tool to help you calculate how much you can pay based on your circumstances.
If you can’t reach an agreement or can’t make payments you’ve agreed, the company may install a prepayment meter instead.
If you receive income support, income-based jobseekers’ allowance, employment and support allowance, pension credit or universal credit (while unemployed) you may be able to pay energy bills or debts through your benefits.
This is called “third party deductions” or Fuel Direct and you can find out more about the scheme on the government’s website.
Recipients of benefits may be eligible for other schemes to help pay for heating such as the Warm Home Discount.