Cutting energy consumption
Stop heat escaping by sealing skirting boards, using draft excluders in front of doors and letterboxes and drawing your curtains after dark.
Save electricity by turning appliances off rather than leaving them to standby, unplug chargers and switch lights off when not in use.
Only run washing machines, driers and dishwashers with a full load and use lower temperature settings. Driers use lots of electricity, so drying washing on a line will help cut bills.
Switch to low energy light bulbs. They cost a bit more but last 12 times longer and help cut your electricity bills.
Turn the thermostat on your heating down by one degree as long as the temperature is already above 21°C, heating your home for one less hour a day and make sure that the temperature of your hot water is no more than 60°C.
Insulating your loft and cavity walls, installing an energy efficient boiler and switching to low energy appliances will all help.
If you live in England, Scotland or Wales, there are lots of different companies supplying energy so you can choose to buy your gas and electricity from those that offer you the best deal.
The way you pay for your gas and electricity also has an impact on the amount it costs. Buying both gas and electricity from the same supplier can cost less. Paying by monthly direct debit rather than quarterly bills, usually saves you money. Some suppliers offer benefits such as money off future bills for switching to paperless bills. Some energy companies offer you the chance to fix your energy prices over a certain period of time. This means your bills will not go up if the price of electricity or gas goes up – but remember that they will still go up if you use more energy.
There are various grants and schemes available to help you cover the cost of fuel bills and make your home energy efficient: Winter Fuel Payments if you are a pensioner, Cold Weather Payments if you are on a low income (certain welfare benefits and rules apply), The Warm Home Discount.
Some energy suppliers offer cheaper deals to customers on low incomes together with free or subsidised energy efficiency measures.
If you are on a low income and a range of income and disability related benefits, you may be able to get a grant to help with the costs of improving the energy efficiency of your home. For example by updating heating systems or insulating.
If you have trouble paying your bill and are pensionable age, living with a disability, chronic illness or a visual or hearing impairment – suppliers are prohibited from disconnecting supplies to your home during winter months.