As three of the ‘Big Six’ energy suppliers announce price hikes, experts are reminding householders of small changes that can help slash how much they spend on gas and electricity.
Scottish Power are raising their standard electricity prices by 15 per cent from March, and gas prices will go up 4.8 per cent.
EDF Energy is freezing its variable electricity prices until March 1, after which they will rise by 8.4 per cent, around £42 a year.
NPower is raising its standard tariff electricity prices by 15 per cent from March and has prices will go up 4.8 per cent. Meanwhile, British Gas said it would be freezing prices until August.
24|7 Home Rescue director Ranjen Gohri said: “Energy bills are understandably a cause for concern for most households and with the announcement of further price rises, we expect this will continue.
Mr Gohri said: “There are a number of home improvement steps people can take to help save money in both the short and long term.”
Insulate your home
“As the cold weather continues it’s important to stop heat escaping through doors and windows with double glazing and draught proofing.
“Locking the heat in will keep you feeling warmer for longer, so you won’t need the heating on around-the-clock, meaning lower energy bills.
“Wall and loft insulation could also cut the amount of energy it takes to heat your home by around 20 per cent, making it an investment for the future.
“It is also worth checking if you are eligible for any grants to help towards the cost.”
Turn down your thermostat
According to the Energy Saving Trust, turning down your thermostat by just one degree could cut your heating bills by up to 10 per cent, saving an average of £85 a year for a semi-detached, three-bedroom home.
Mr Gohri says: “Not only will turning down your central heating reduce the strain on your boiler and lessen the likelihood of a breakdown, it will also save you cash.”
Use kettle instead of stove
Small changes around the kitchen can quickly add up to big savings in the pocket.
Mr Gohri says: “While the majority of your gas bill will likely go on central heating, simple steps in the kitchen could also help.
“Using a kettle instead of a stove to heat water when cooking things like pasta and rice will save time and use less energy.
“You can also try to cook big batches of dinner like chilli or soup at once, and then reheat it later in the week, meaning you’re not cooking every day.
“It’s also important to unplug appliances when they’re not being used.”
Use energy saving lightbulbs
According to the Money Advice Service, energy saving lightbulbs last up to 10 times longer than regular bulbs, and each one can save around £55 over the bulb’s lifetime.
My Gohri says: “As well as bulbs, investing in more modern, A-rated appliances will also improve efficiency around the home.
“While it will require an initial investment, it will likely save your money over time.”
Replace your boiler
A more efficient model of boiler can save as much as £240 a year, according to the Energy Saving Trust.
Mr Gohri says: “This is again a long-term investment, depending on the make and model you opt for.
“If you don’t want to splash out on a new boiler, make sure it’s in good health by getting a service every year instead.”
Take shorter showers
Reducing your rinse to around 10 minutes each day can slash tens of pounds off your bills over the course of a year.
Replacing one bath a week with a five-minute shower will also save up to £20 a year on gas bills and around £25 on water bills if you have a meter, according to the Energy Saving Trust.
This is based on each member in a family of four changing their habits.
Mr Gorhi says: “If you’re feeling the pinch, little steps such as cutting the length of your showers might just help to cut a few pounds off your bills here and there.”
Energy regulator Ofgem urged customers who will be affected by price rises to “shop around for a better deal”.
Mr Gohri says: “The difference between the cost of the highest and lowest tariffs on the market is often hundreds of pounds, making it seriously worthwhile to check what other companies have to offer.”