Hastoe want to do all we can to help you, our residents. There are some small changes around the house that can have a big impact on our finances.
What's the latest?
The Energy Price Guarantee was recently launched by the Government, which will reduce the unit cost of electricity and gas so that a typical household in Great Britain pays, on average, around £2,500 a year on their energy bill, for the next two years, from 1 October 2022. This is still a rise from the current £1,971 a year average bill.
While millions of households are entitled to financial support to help with the cost of living crisis, in addition you can further cut your costs by making a few adjustments in your home.
Welfare Benefit Advisor, Sarah Allen, gives us her top tips on how to cut costs this autumn.
Keep devices unplugged
Electronic devices, such as a phone, tablet, TV, dishwasher or washing machine still use energy while on standby whatever the weather. Savings can be made just by remembering to unplug them.
A saving of around £20 a year could be made if you switch off your set top box at the wall when it's not in use. It might also be convenient to leave your router or modem on so you can access the internet anytime but doing so adds to your electricity bill.
You might leave your microwave on standby if on for 23 hours a day this works out at around £16 extra on your bill each year. The Energy Saving Trust have said that a microwave is one of the appliances that will "eat up electricity" when left on standby.
It is also estimated that households could save an average of £12 per year by switching off their game consoles when not in use.
Below are some of the devices which when left on standby which can ‘eat up’ your electricity:
Your TV is one of the most energy-hungry devices in the home when left on standby. A TV uses around 40 watts of energy when it's being used, however still uses up to 10 watts when on standby. The majority of households will have their TV on standby on average around 20 hours a day. So many people would benefit from turning the appliance fully off when not in use.
We understand the convenience of leaving your router or modem on so you can access the internet anytime however doing so could add around £18 to your electricity bill a year.
By turning it off completely before bed or before you go on a holiday, you could be saving money on your energy bill.
If you have one use your microwave when possible. You can save energy because it’s quicker than using the oven or stove. It also worth considering a slow cooker too, as they are one of the most energy-efficient kitchen appliances.
Microwaves in the average home generally have a wattage of between 700 and 1,200 watts. A 700 watt model would use 0.7 kilowatts per hour (kWh) and a 1,200 model, 1.2kWh.
What does that mean in terms of cost on the current price cap and the October price cap? The cost of energy is currently 28p per kWh for electricity, on average, but the exact cost will depend on the tariff you're on.
So to run a microwave costs roughly between 20p and 33p per hour. The exact cost will depend on how much you use it, the model you have, and how much you pay for energy.
The Energy Saving Trust says that a microwave is more energy efficient than a traditional gas or electric oven. This is because microwaves only heat your food and not the air space inside, which means they use less energy to cook your dinner.
Switching off your microwave after every use is another way you could make a saving. The Energy Saving Trust also said a microwave is one of the appliances that will "eat up electricity" when left on standby.
Households leave their microwaves on standby for a total of 23 hours a day on average, working out as around £16 extra on your bill each year.
Only boil as much water as you need, by filling your mug/cup with water and pop into your kettle so you're measuring what you need and nothing more!
Your Xbox and Playstation use 130 and 120 watts respectively when they’re in use, but still eat up around 10 watts when they’re on standby. It's estimated that households can save an average of £12 per year by switching off their game consoles when not in use.
The majority of households don't switch off their computers, which works out at on average around £11 per year. Some other appliances that might be adding to your energy bills when left on standby include:
- Tumble dryer
- Washing machine
- Phone charger
How can I avoid energy eating devices adding to my energy bills?
British Gas energy expert Marc Robson recommends switching off appliances when not in use such as at night, and not leaving them plugged in for longer than necessary, for example when you're fully charged.
"At night, or when not in use, try switching off devices at the mains rather than switching to standby, as even the standby light on a television uses energy, " he said.
"Try not to overcharge your mobile phone and laptop unnecessarily.
"As soon as your device is charged, try and get into the habit of unplugging it."
He says it's also a good idea to add devices to an extension lead that can be switched off at night - or using smart plugs.
"There are smart plugs you can buy which will let you check everything is turned off from your phone," he added.
"A smart meter's in-home display can help to identify how much energy is used at different times of the day, so you can see where energy is wasted."
What else can I do to save Energy?
Wash on a colder cycle and reduce runs
Running the washing machine on a 30-degree cycle instead of using higher temperatures and limiting their usage can help save energy.
It is estimated that the typical UK household does 270 loads of washing a year. If each load takes an average of one hour, then this puts the annual cost of running your washing machine on average around £91.80. By reducing your washing temperature to 30°C you could save around £13 a year, while cutting further to 20°C could shave £24 off your annual bill.
Switch off the lights
Switch off the light and have your curtains open to let the daylight brighten and sunlight warm your room.
When you need to switch on the lights, try only lighting rooms that are being used and you could save around £20 on your annual energy bills.
Only heat the hot water needed
The way a boiler is set up can make a difference to how much people can save on their heating bills, especially if they have a combi boiler. A boiler's flow rate shows how much hot water it will be able to send to your taps in one minute.
By setting the flow rate for the hot water to somewhere between 50°C-60°C, you can ensure you only heat the hot water you need. When it’s not as cold outside and you don’t need the house to warm up as quickly, you could also reduce the flow rate for heating to this temperature.
Take showers instead of baths
take showers instead of baths and limit time in the shower to 4 mins. You can buy shower timers for about £5 or there are some available for free online at www.savewatersavemoney.co.uk. Your water company may also be able to provide you with one.
Do you use electricity to heat a storage heater, or emersion heater? Or even charge an electric car? Then using Economy 7 could be a better tariff for you. Please check carefully and make sure that timers are set to the correct time. Many providers do not market or actively offer this so it's worth getting in touch with your energy provider.
What help can I get with my energy bills?
There are options available to households struggling with their energy bills. This includes the Household Support Fund through your local Council, the £400 energy rebate, and many households should have received a £150 Council Tax rebate earlier this year.
Energy companies also offer support schemes. They have a responsibility to support customers who are struggling, or who may be vulnerable due to age or health reasons.
What energy bill help is coming?
From 1st October, all households will start to receive a £400 energy bill discount. The payment will be made by your energy supplier and will be split across six discounts between October and March next year. If you pay for your electricity through prepayment or a key meter, you will get your energy discount through redeemable vouchers or the discount will be applied when you top up each time. You should have received a text email or letter from your supplier about this. NB: You must make sure your contact details are up to date with your energy supplier to receive this. If they aren't, please contact your energy supplier immediately.
A household will receive a £66 energy bill discount in October and November and a discount worth £67 in December, January, February and March.
In November, a £300 one off "Pensioner Cost of Living Payment" will be paid out to eight million households. This will be given to those who already get the winter fuel payment - which is worth between £100 and £300 for those over state pension age.
The second Cost of Living payment of £324 is due this autumn if you get a qualifying low income benefit or tax credits. Low income benefits are Universal Credit, income-based Jobseekers Allowance, income-based Employment and Support Allowance, Income Support, Pension Credit, Child Tax Credit and Working Tax Credit.
Millions of households are also in line to receive the £150 Warm Home Discount between December and March 2023.
Check if you can get an energy grant
There are a number of energy grants and schemes open to help you out if you're struggling. Ask your supplier what's on offer and how to apply.
Bulb: www.help.bulb.co.uk Tel. 0300 30 30 635
British Gas: www.britishgas.co.uk/british-gas-energy-support-fund – open to everyone to apply
Eon Energy: www.eonenergyfund.com Tel. 03303 801090
Scottish Power: www.community.scottishpower.co.uk Tel 0121 285 2595
SSE energy and EDF: www.charisgrants.com
Ovo Energy: www.ovoenergy.com
Octopus Energy: https://octopus.energy/policies/extra-support/
You can get free debt advice
If you're in debt there are plenty of services you can contact who offer free advice on how to manage debt. Most of them can offer you free guidance and help in person, over the telephone or online.
- Money Helper- 0800 138 7777
- Citizens Advice- 0808 800 9060
- StepChange - 0800 138 1111
- National Debtline- 0808 808 4000
You will find other useful links below to services to help you check if you are receiving the right benefits and also contact details for Hastoe’s Benefits & Welfare Advisor’s. Our Benefits & Welfare Advisors are there to provide you with advice and guidance on budgeting, benefits and where you might be able to access additional financial support.