Save money on your energy bills

old lady in her home

Cutting your energy bills down to size and making them more affordable doesn’t have to mean making big changes – small measures can save you money too.

Saving money on your energy bills is as easy as 1, 2, 3!

  1. Check Even something as simple as paying by direct debit could save you £100 – talk to your provider to make sure you’re getting their best deal.
  2. Switch You could potentially save over £200, particularly if you have never switched before.
  3. Insulate Save up to £320 by making sure your home is properly insulated before winter, and make small everyday changes to save energy.

 

Our guide Save energy, pay less has tips on how to save energy at home, as well as advice on what to do if you're finding it hard to pay your energy bills.

Check

Check – with your current supplier

Your current supplier may be able to offer you a cheaper tariff, or one that promises not to increase prices for a while.

If you’re having difficulty paying your bills, tell your energy supplier as soon as you can. They'll let you know how they can help you avoid getting into debt.

If you're already in debt, you may be able to agree on a repayment plan to pay your arrears, or have a prepayment meter installed. Payments can be taken from your benefits to pay off an energy bill debt, if you receive certain means-tested benefits, including Pension Credit. This is known as the Fuel Direct Scheme.

Check - paying your bills

Are you paying your energy bills in the most efficient way? Most suppliers offer a discount if you pay by direct debit, on average around £100, compared to paying your bill by cash or cheque.

Sign up to paperless billing. This means you won’t receive bills in the post, but will manage your account online instead.

Check - benefits and help

Up to £20bn of benefits went unclaimed in 2011. Your supplier may be able to offer you a discount if you are on certain benefits too.

Use our quick and easy online benefits calculator to find out the benefits you may be entitled to claim, or check what help is avaliable with on our guide to heating benefits page.

Download our benefits guides:

opens link in new window More money in your pocket: a guide for people over pension age (PDF, 958KB)
opens link in new window Claiming benefits: a guide for people of working age (PDF, 679KB)

Free Home Energy Checks

Julie Banks talks to David Terrace about Age UK’s scheme which is offering free home energy checks for those in later life.

Free Home Energy Checks

Free Home Energy Checks

Switch

If you decide to switch suppliers, you’ll find lots of different energy companies and tariffs to choose from. Read the factsheet opens link in new window Switching energy supplier (PDF, 122KB) to find out more about how to switch.

You can also contact energy suppliers directly to ask about their best deals.

Comparing tariffs

Have this information to hand when you want to compare different offers:

  • The name of your current supplier and current tariff (find them on your bill).
  • How much you spent on electricity and gas in the last year. Look at your past bills if you still have them or ask your current supplier, otherwise work it out approximately.
  • How you currently pay for your energy – cheque or Direct Debit, for example.
  • How you would like to pay with a new energy supplier.
  • Your postcode.

Making the switch

Before you Switch, ask yourself these questions:

  • Are there any special offers or discounts included in the price? If so, how long will they run for?
  • Are there any extra or hidden charges?
  • Is the payment schedule and method right for you? A pre-payment meter is one way of spreading your payments, but it can be more expensive than other methods and inconvenient if you can’t get out to charge your card.
  • Make sure your gas or energy supply won’t be interrupted when you switch.

Not everyone can switch suppliers. If you rent, check with your landlord before switching. If you owe money to your energy supplier, they can stop you from switching to another supplier until your debt is paid off. However, if you have a pre-payment meter, you can transfer debts of up to £200 to a new supplier.

Read Consumer Direct’s guide opens link in new window How to switch energy suppliers (PDF 456KB) to find out what happens after you make the switch.

Switching Energy Supplier

We all want to make sure we’re getting the best value for money with our gas and electricity. Julie Banks speaks to Ashley Morgan about why we might benefit from switching energy supplier and how the

More money-related radio features

Switching Energy Supplier
 

Insulate

Insulating the loft and cavity walls of your home is a great way to save money on your heating bills, up to £320 per year if you do both. 

Energy savings tips 

  • Installing letter box covers or draught excluders can make your home warmer. Draught-proofing could save you up to £30 a year.
  • Choosing an Energy Saving Trust-recommended refrigerator could save you up to £17 a year.
  • Opting for low-energy light bulbs, checking your heating isn’t set too high and drawing the curtains in the evenings will all help you make savings too.
  • Age UK’s Handyperson service helps older people in some areas who meet certain criteria. They may be able to help with small jobs like installing draught excluders and radiator heat reflectors. Call Age UK Advice on 0800 169 6565 to find out what’s available in your area or find out more about our Handyperson service.

Keeping warm in winter

You can feel the cold indoors as well as out, so it's important to stay warm in your home.

  • Keep moving. Staying active isn’t just good for your general fitness, it also generates heat and helps keep you warm. Walk around your home, make yourself a hot drink, and spread your chores throughout the day. Chair-based exercises and simply moving your arms and legs are helpful if walking is difficult.
  • Eat well. Hot meals and drinks throughout the day help keep you warm. It’s a good idea to have a hot drink before bed and keep one in a flask by your bedside.
  • Dress for warmth. Several thin layers of clothing will keep you warmer than one thick layer, as the layers trap warm air. Always wear gloves, a hat and a scarf when you go out in cold weather, even for short intervals.
  • Keep your home heated. The recommended temperature for your main living room is around 21C (70F) and the rest of your home should be heated to at least 18C.
  • Keep warm at night by using a hot-water bottle or electric blanket in bed, but never use the two together as this can be dangerous.
  • Check when bad weather is forecast. Check local news and weather forecasts for advice, or visit the Met Office website.

 

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Useful information to download

  • An information guide with further energy-saving advice.
  • An information guide that offers advice on reducing your energy bills.
  • Takes you through the issues associated with switching energy supplier.
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Useful websites

  • If you receive the Guarantee Credit part of Pension Credit, you may be eligible for the Warm Home Discount Scheme.

  • Charis Grants administers funds to help people and families who are struggling to pay their utility bills. They award successful applicants with a one-off payment to the utility company concerned. 

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