How to save on your gas and electricity costs?


Many of us await the winter weather with a feeling of dread. Sure, all the snow, ice and frost look pretty. But for many of us (especially those of a certain age), extremely cold weather can exacerbate a range of health issues – not to mention sending our heating bills sky high. But if you’re of pensionable age, you may find that you’re entitled to a Winter Fuel Payment from the government.
Last updated: November 2022

Some changes are more convenient than others, and there’s a combination of big and small impacts you can make. But when they are all added together they can mean some big savings. If you are in debt, or if you are a student you are probably looking to lower your energy bills, make savings and find cheap energy bills, so read on to find out how.

At Switch Plan, we can help you save money on your energy bills! Searching the UK energy market can often be confusing and, for that reason, we have got your back! All you have to do is give our experts a call at the number above and they will be able to help you out.

First, it’s worth knowing whether you are paying more or less than the average home for your energy supplies. You need to bear in mind that the cost of your electricity can vary according to a number of factors. These include:

  1. Where you live in the UK – the rates you pay per unit of gas or electricity can vary according to the region where you live
  2. Your energy supplier – different suppliers charge different rates for units of gas and electricity
  3. Choice of tariff – there are hundreds of different tariffs from suppliers, and variable rate tariffs are generally more expensive than fixed-rate tariffs
  4. Energy usage – how much energy you use and the appliances you have in your home will affect the size of your bill

What is the average cost of gas and electricity in the UK?

The average cost of electricity in the UK, per month and per year, is as follows:

Type of property Cost per month Cost per year
1 – 2 bedroom house or flat
£34 £403
3 – 4 bedroom house
£49 £590
5+ bedroom house
£70 £846

These are average costs as reported by the industry regulator Ofgem, which divides the averages into small, medium and large properties. These are called the Typical Domestic Consumption Values, or TDCV, and are the standard usage figures for homes across the UK.

Costs consist of the unit rate (the amount you pay per kWh of electricity used) plus the standing charge (the rate your provider charges to deliver electricity every day). Your bills will be higher or lower than these averages depending on your usage and on what appliances you have in your home.

The average cost of gas in the UK, per month and per year, is as follows:

Type of property Cost per month Cost per year
1 – 2 bedroom house or flat
£33 £392
3 – 4 bedroom house
£48 £572
5+ bedroom house
£66 £793

Then there are dual fuel tariffs, which include both gas and electricity. The UK averages are as follows for variable tariffs:

Type of property Cost per month Cost per year
1 – 2 bedroom house or flat
£67 £802
3 – 4 bedroom house
£97 £1164
5+ bedroom house
£136 £1638

And for fixed rate tariffs:

Type of property Cost per month Cost per year
1 – 2 bedroom house or flat
£53 £640
3 – 4 bedroom house
£75 £899
5+ bedroom house
£103 £1231

Once you have compared your own gas and electricity usage, according to how you receive and pay for your energy, you can see whether you are paying more or less than the average.

Save on your gas bills!

If you are paying less than the average then you might be happy to stay as you are. If you are paying more, then you might need to think about ways you can save.

How can I save on my energy bills?

There are a number or ways that you can save on your energy bills. The first is to pay by direct debit. It is usually cheaper and means that you won’t miss any more payments. It’s quick and easy to set up and won’t cost you a penny. Particularly if you are a student or usually busy at work, you won’t want to think about monthly payments.

Second, you need to try and use less. This may sound obvious but the less energy you use, the lower your bills will be. There are plenty of energy saving tips and tricks. These include:

  1. Turn off standby appliances – devices like the TV, stereos, speakers, computers and more all use power when left on standby
  2. Install a smart thermostat – available cheaply online and help you to keep a much closer eye on what you are using, as well as allowing you to control heating in different parts of your home
  3. Turn down your thermostat – rather than turning the heating up, close windows, eliminate drafts and install insulation
  4. Install a new boiler – this one might be more down to the landlord but it will also be in his or her interest to have a more energy efficient home. We recommend a combi boiler!
  5. Wash clothes at a lower temperature – washing machines can work just as well at lower temperatures
  6. Switch to energy saving lightbulbs, for obvious reasons…
  7. Be smarter about water – take shorter showers rather than deep baths as this will bring down your water heating bills
  8. Think about how well your home is insulated – do you have double glazing or insulated loft spaces? Do you need to retrofit insulation to wall areas?
  9. Up to date appliances – if you are still relying on your old boiler, then it might be time for a more modern and efficient upgrade
  10. Opt for an Economy 7 or Economy 10 tariff to save on your electricity bills

Make your home more eco friendly and if you have the space and capability, think about installing solar panels or wind energy to help reduce your impact and the size of your bills.

The above are all great ideas for reducing your energy bills. However, there is one thing that you can do today, for free, that might lead to more affordable energy for your home: switching suppliers.

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How to switch energy suppliers when moving house?

Switching your energy supplier has never been easier and could help you to save hundreds on your energy bills. The whole process will take no more than 21 days – although your involvement will only be for a few minutes at the very beginning of that. You won’t be without power for any period during that time and switching is free and your legal right, even if you’re renting a property and responsible for paying bills.

What you need to make the switch:

  • A recent energy bill in your name from your current supplier
  • Your bank details

Then you need to look around at the various tariffs available. Don’t forget to look at the different kinds of tariffs available, such as Economy 7 and fixed rate, as these could help you to make bigger savings. Once you have found a suitable tariff for your needs, then you can either contact your preferred supplier directly or let us handle everything for you.

You’ll be asked to supply your new provider with meter readings and your old supplier will send you a final bill. And that’s it.

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What makes my electric bill so high?

If you open your energy bills each month and feel shocked at how much you are paying for your power then it might be the case that you are using too much. Especially if you are paying far more than the average households in the UK as listed above.

There are a number of reasons why your electricity bills might be high. These include:

  1. Vampire appliances are using energy – These are appliances that spend most of their time on standby. They are plugged in but not switched off and over time they can really drain power and cost your money. Look out for little red standby lights or appliances that use power even when idle
  2. High energy appliances – Some appliances use far more energy than others. For example, dishwashers, washing machines and dryers can use huge amounts of power if used regularly. Make sure you only use these appliances when full and if necessary
  3. Using old appliances – Old appliances use more energy than their new and more efficient counterparts. Specifically, appliances built in the 90s tend to be huge power suckers
  4. Charging devices – Look around your home. How many devices have you got on charge right now? Each one of these is using power so if you are gadget obsessed ti could be costing you a small fortune

Other reasons include your home not being insulated correctly, using the heating, ceiling fans or air conditioning when the windows are open. You may also want to think about swapping out your light bulbs for energy efficient alternatives.

What costs the most on your electric bill?

There are certain appliances that most of us have in our homes that use a large percentage of your power. Below is a list of the nine most common domestic appliances or energy users and the percentage amount of your bill they constitute.

  1. Cooling and heating: 47% of energy use
  2. Water heater: 14% of energy use
  3. Washer and dryer: 13% of energy use
  4. Lighting: 12% of energy use
  5. Refrigerator: 4% of energy use
  6. Electric oven: 3-4% of energy use
  7. TV, DVD, cable box: 3% of energy use
  8. Dishwasher: 2% of energy use
  9. Computer: 1% of energy use

What appliances use most power?

As you can see from the above list, heating and cooling your home (depending on the season) accounts for nearly half of all the energy you use per year. To that extent, your boiler, radiators and air conditioning units are the greediest and most power hungry of all your appliances.

Of course, we all want to be warm and comfortable in our homes. In the UK winter you simply have to have some form of heating. Ultra-modern passive houses claim to be able to use residual heat and natural energy but the reality for most of us is that we will need some kind of boiler.

That being said, there are ways to reduce how much we spend on heating. Making sure your home is insulated better is the key, so check your loft and wall spaces to see if they have up to date insulation. You can also switch energy suppliers or energy tariffs to ensure you are paying less for your energy, as detailed above.

Other power guzzling appliances include the washing machine and the dryer, the oven, the fridge and lighting. However, you have to remember that the fridge and your lights will be switched on a lot more of the time than other appliances.

For example, the fridge will be on 24/7/365 but you might only use the oven for an hour a day. Cutting back on fridge use is not really an option and will save you a fraction but being more clever about how you use the washing machine or heat your water could make a big difference.

Do energy saving devices really work?

If you want to reduce your energy bills, then using power saving devices is an option. But do they really save you money? The answer is that it depends. Some energy saving devices work by reducing the amount of power an appliance uses or rely on power factor correlation. These can have a big impact on usage. However, other devices simply highlight how much you are using, which while helpful, does not actually reduce usage in themselves.

Look for devices such as energy saving power strips which automatically shut down sockets when the devices plugged in are not in use. This can help with devices that use a lot of standby power.

Does the internet of things affect energy use?

Just because something is smart, it doesn’t necessarily conserve energy. The fact that so many devices are now hooked up to the internet – the so-called ‘internet of things’ – it doesn’t mean they are clever about electricity usage. In fact, many connected devices can use phantom energy, which is when they are still using power even when switched off. This is because they need to be connected to the internet in order to work.

Convenience doesn’t always mean more efficient. However, many smart devices can work to help save energy. They can also help us to get a better understanding of how we use energy, giving us the knowledge we need to make savings. This is very true of the latest generation of smart meters, which are web connected. The bottom line is that you should always be aware of what you and your appliances are using.

To read more on this topic, check out our other guides:

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What are three ways you can save money on your energy bill?

There are three main ways that you can save money on your energy bills. The first is to regulate your use of power by turning off devices on standby and generally using less. The second is to use smart devices such as smart meters and thermostats to be more efficient about how you use energy.

However, the most effective way to save money on your bills is to switch to a tariff and provider that offers you the best deal on your supply.

How do you switch energy suppliers?

All you need is a copy of your current bill and your bank details. You can switch by researching tariffs and contacting a new provider who will help you. Or you can come to switch services like ours where we can help you to find the most suitable tariff and take care of all the switching process.

⚡ What appliances use most power?

Almost half the power used in your home each year goes towards keeping you warm or cool (depending on the season). Individual appliances that use a lot of power include the washing machine, dishwasher and tumble dryer.

Who is the best energy supplier for me?

The best energy supplier for you is the one that provides you with great value energy for the ways in which you consume power. Different tariffs sell power in a range of ways, according to when and how you use energy. It’s worth looking around and thinking about the ways in which you use energy and trying to find a supplier that suits your energy needs and lifestyle.

Updated on 29 Jan, 2024

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