Degem announced its latest review of the energy price cap On Friday August 26, the maximum amount utility providers can charge their customers at the standard rate in the UK stands at £3,549 a year from October 1, an astonishing 80% increase.
The situation is only set to get worse, with analysts at Cornwall Insight already predicting future increases to £4,200 and £5,300 in subsequent quarters as gas price surge, largely due to Russia’s war in Ukraine, the consequences of which are fueling a wider cost of living crisis with inflation at 10.1%, its highest level in 40 years, and stagnating wages.
Additionally, the usual advice for those dealing with strong energy bills shopping around and being prepared to switch suppliers no longer applies because prices have skyrocketed so much that it’s hard to find better deals.
The government announced several support measures to help low-income families, pensioners and people with disabilities this winter, including cutting household energy bills by £400 as well as a one-off payment of £650 for around eight million households on conditional benefits of resources.
That said, more action is needed from Boris Johnsonsuccessor to Prime Minister, whether Liz Truss Where Rishi Sunakto prevent millions of people from falling into fuel poverty and having to choose between heating and eating when the weather turns.
Nadhim Zahawiformer chancellor, has reportedly already told Treasury officials to prepare to issue new payments, so there is reason to hope that more help is on the way.
Naturally, millions of people across Britain will already be wondering what else they can do to shore up their homes this winter to stay warm without racking up sky-high bills.
Here are some tips to consider.
Good insulation is crucial, with the Energy Saving Trust (EST) warning that homes without it in their attics typically lose a quarter of their heat through the roof while those with save up to £580 per year introducing it, invaluable throughout its 40 years of life.
The EST offers advice on its website on how to install insulation in an attic yourself using materials readily available at your local DIY store, taking into account factors such as humidity, ventilation and current use of your attic.
Surprisingly, houses can also lose a third of their heat through the walls if they are not well insulated.
If there is a gap between your walls (common in most homes built after 1920), professionals can install cavity wall insulation for you.
If you have solid walls (typical before 1920), rigid insulation panels on the inside or exterior insulation covered with plaster or siding on the outside of your house could be the solution.
Fixing the problem can be costly upfront, but could ultimately prove to be worth up to £480 and £650 a year respectively, depending on your wall type, according to EST estimates.
You can find a licensed professional to do the first via the National Insulation Association, Cavity Insulation Warranty Agency or the British Board of Directors or, for the latter, via the Combination Insulating Coating and Cladding.
Ground floors can also be reinforced to improve heat retention, whether concrete or timber, and this can saves you up to £130 per yearaccording to the EST.
Again, most people will need to hire a professional to install layers of rigid foam or mineral wool insulation.
That said, a tube of silicone caulk available at any hardware store can be useful for filling gaps in floors and baseboards, while something as simple as laying more carpet on bare surfaces can also have an impact.
The climate benefits of properly insulated homes should also not be ignored, with Friends of the Earth policy chief Mike Childs recently calling on the government to do more to tackle the problem and reminding us: “There are nearly five million homes in England and Wales without even basic measures such as loft or cavity wall insulation, meaning their homes lose heat quickly and cost more to warm up.
“A nationwide program of street-by-street home insulation, focusing on those who need it most, would cut energy use, cut climate pollution and could cut energy bills by £1,000 or more each year. .”
Loose fittings are another big culprit when it comes to wasting household energy, as they let in cold air and allow heat to escape.
Window and door frames, such as baseboards, should also be checked and sealed for save £45 per yearsays the EST, while draftproofing an open fireplace could save you an extra £65 a year.
Inexpensive door draft excluders are also recommended to prevent heat from escaping under exterior doors and mailboxes.
Windows are another cause of heat loss because glass both conducts cold air and allows heat to escape in the form of radiation.
Ideally, double or even triple glazing is recommended, although this is of course an expensive and impractical solution for everyone these days.
Much cheaper are thermal curtains, which are thicker than normal curtains and readily available from furnishing stores such as Argos, often for as little as £12.
These should be kept drawn on cold days to trap more heat.
Another effective and energy-saving remedy recommended by experts is installation of a reverse cycle air conditioneralthough the initial installation costs could again prove prohibitive.
Instead, electric heaters are a much cheaper alternative – often sold for as little as £20 – and have the advantage of allowing you to move them around the house, allowing you to heat only the rooms you need to. be and, potentially, keep the thermostat low.
Manage your radiators
Experts recommend bleeding your radiators to make sure there is no air trapped inside preventing them from performing at their full potential and shielding them with aluminum foil so that the heat that they generate either reflected back into the room rather than absorbed by the walls. and lost as wasted energy.
You should also avoid placing large pieces of furniture like sofas and settees in their path, which will absorb heat rather than allow it to warm the air in the room, and avoid using your radiators to dry damp clothes for the same reason.
Micromanage your thermostat
You should turn your heating down at least a notch in the interest of using less heat (the BBC recently estimated that this would save you £55 extra per year) and be strategic about when you have the heating on: don’t let it turn up when you’re away and the house is empty, for example.
By the same principle, you should not leave radiators on in rooms that are not currently in use.
Smart thermostats like Nest and Hive can cost around £180 to install, but it could be worth it in the long run as they give you greater control over your home’s heating, letting you run it by app and choose precisely which rooms are heated at which time.
Nest estimates that users can save up to 10% on their heating bills per year by using its technology to take a more tactical approach.
Consider a heat pump
This may not be a realistic option for everyone at the moment given that they usually cost around £10,000 to install, but a heat pump would be more ecological than a gas boilerworking by extracting energy from the outside atmosphere – a process that makes them slower but more efficient than their predecessors, potentially producing three times the energy they use, especially when a home is properly insulated.
A government grant of £5,000 was made available in England and Wales from March this year to encourage adoption, but even so it may be too much for many families at this time and a strong request could mean unwanted delays in installation dates.
Hot water bottles and extra diapers
Every little helper and something as simple as buying a cheap hot water bottle to sit in on a cold winter night, wearing more layers of clothing, or even lighting up a room with candles or a rechargeable lantern in the evening. could all help reduce your energy consumption.
Limiting the time you spend watching TV or playing video games would also make progress.
While this may be a tough sell in many households, especially where children are involved, consider the benefits of more traditional off-grid activities like reading or playing board games with friends and family, which could be a very gratifying change of direction.
Running your dishwasher or washing machine once less a week could also provide a useful saving, as could switching to LED-only bulbs, which the BBC says will save you £30 a year.
For expert help and advice, visit the Energy saving trust.