How to save money on your gas and electricity bills
Monthly costs for running your home can add up, but there are a number of ways to save money on your energy bills to stop you paying over the odds for your gas and electricity. This guide includes advice on the ways your meter type, payment processes and general home efficiency can shave pennies and pounds off your bills.
Here are five key ways to save money on your energy bills:
1. Check you’re on the right meter
Make sure you have the best meter to suit your needs
If you cover the costs of your energy using a key or a card to top up your prepayment meter, you may be paying too much. Sometimes the most competitive tariffs aren’t available for prepayment meters, so it’s worth checking all tariffs to see if you could get a better rate with a standard credit meter. If you move into a property with a prepayment meter you could call customer services to work out if this is the best meter for you based on your circumstances and usage.
2. Make your meter work for you
Give meter readings
Your supplier will often ask for meter readings when you first sign up and will use them to set up your account. If you don’t provide regular readings when you’re asked, your supplier will estimate how much energy you’ve used based on any historic data they have for your property. This means you may be overpaying or underpaying for your energy compared to what you’re actually using.
You’ll always have any over payments returned to you at your annual review provided you’ve given meter readings. But it’s recommended, and healthier for your wallet, if you provide regular meter readings to keep your supplier up to date about how much energy you’re using. This means you’ll only pay for what you’re using – plus you’ll be much more aware of how much energy is spent in your home, helping you to cut back when necessary. Remember, if you pay by Direct Debit and don’t give your supplier regular meter readings, you could be using more energy than you are paying for - which could lead to your payments increasing to cover the difference.
Use your Economy 7 meter properly to save money
An Economy 7 meter, also known as a two-rate meter, has a standard rate for daytime and a lower rate for night time. This means you can save money by setting appliances like dishwashers and washing machines to run overnight while you’re sleeping. If you’re only able to use these in the daytime when you’re paying the higher rate, you don't have to have an Economy 7 tariff. We can simply add your day and night units together to give us one single usage figure if a single rate tariff is more appropriate for you. So you won’t even need to change your meter.
Get a Smart meterThe Smart meter revolution is coming and by 2020 every home in the UK should be fitted with one. This means added convenience for you as your new smart reader will provide automated meter readings to your energy supplier without you having to lift a finger. This means you should always receive accurate bills, so you’ll should never over or underpay for your energy again.
Not only this, but you can also use the energy monitor that comes with your Smart meter to track your energy usage more carefully, as it displays exactly how much you’re using and what this will cost you. This insight means you’ll gain a better understanding of how much gas or electricity each of your appliances use, allowing you to tweak your habits to save cash.
3. See if you’re eligible for energy grants
Be aware of all the grants you could be eligible forWe’re part of the Warm Home Discount scheme, which offers eligible people (namely those on income support) a benefit of £140 off their electricity bills. We also offer the ECO scheme (Energy Company Obligation), which provides free loft insulation, boilers or free cavity wall insulation to those who qualify and have a need for it, helping our customers make major savings on their energy costs.
If you’re struggling to pay debts on your energy bills, the npower Energy Fund could also help.
If you’re not an npower customer, it’s very likely your supplier will have their own schemes that could help you. Take some time to ask the right questions and do your research, making sure you’re aware of everything that’s on offer to you.
4. Look for discounts on your bills
Dual fuel discount
If your gas and electricity are being provided by two separate suppliers, you could be paying more than you need to since you won’t be benefiting from the discount some suppliers offer if you have both your fuels with them.
Plus, you have the added benefit of dealing with just one company rather than two, which makes managing your utilities one step easier.
Pay by Direct DebitPaying your energy bills by Direct Debit isn’t just quicker and easier, but can also be slightly cheaper as well because if you pay using this method most suppliers will offer you some sort of discount.
If you’re still prepaying for your energy or covering your payments by cash or cheque, it’s worth considering changing to Direct Debit to make sure you’re not paying over the odds. Payments are taken automatically from your bank and you can choose to pay quarterly or monthly, to save yourself the risk of missed payments.
Invest in a new energy efficient boilerModern boilers burn fuel more efficiently than older models, so an update can save you money on your bills. Older boilers, unlike newer models, have to work much harder to heat your home, burning through more gas in the process.
Plus, on more up-to-date boilers, you’re reducing the likelihood of expensive call-outs for faults. New boilers aren’t cheap, so it’s likely that savings will be small in the short term, but you can consider it an investment and peace of mind for the longer term.
Turn down your thermostatIt’s a simple move, but turning the heating down by just one degree can save you up to £85 a year on your heating bill, according to the Energy Saving Trust.
Set a timer so you’re not burning fuel when you’re away from home and even consider putting a jumper on before switching on your heating – every little helps when it comes to saving pennies.
Draft excludersCold air from outside can sneak into your home through all kinds of nooks and crannies, meaning your heating system needs to work harder and burn more fuel to reach the ideal temperature.
Block any potential drafts from doors and windows with excluders, coverings or curtains to trap the warmth in and keep the breeze out.
Energy efficient appliancesIf you’re in the process of replacing any appliances in your home, check the energy ratings label in comparison to the size of the item, as this will give you an idea of how much it will cost to run.
As a rule, the higher the energy rating for the size you require, the less the appliance will cost you over time.