You can reduce your electricity bill through a combination of diligence, and prudent investment. But perhaps the biggest change you can make is choosing a different company to supply your electricity. Our reliance on technology (and the electricity that powers it) is unlikely to dwindle any time soon. But that doesn’t mean that we can’t save on energy bills. In this post, we’ll look at how to reduce your electricity bill without sacrificing your lifestyle.
Last update: November 2022
You may have often wondered how to reduce your electricity bill but assumed that in this technological age that it was impossible. Now more than ever, every home is reliant on electricity. It is behind everything from the way we cook and warm our homes to the way we entertain ourselves at the end of the day. But at a time when many of us are working from home, our electricity supply is even more important to the way we live and work. Unfortunately, this also means that we’re paying more for the energy we use. A lot more. What’s worse is that much of this cost is avoidable.
How can I reduce my electric bill at home?
If your home has become your workplace over the past 12 months, it’s more than likely that your energy consumption (and energy bills) have risen significantly. But while you may not be able to change your current working arrangements (or be willing to sacrifice your lifestyle), you can still take steps to reduce your household electricity bill. If you’re unsure how to reduce your electricity bill, here are a few places to start.
Consider switching providers
While we may be using more electronic and electrical devices than ever, believe it or not our electricity consumption has actually reduced in the last 15 years or so. According to Statista, the UK used 357 terawatt hours (tWh) of electricity in 2005 but just 301.76 tWh in 2019. This is largely because households have embraced more energy-saving technologies. We have LED TVs which are far more efficient than our old CRT equivalents. More of us use energy-saving LED or CFL bulbs instead of old incandescent bulbs (which waste 90% of the electricity they use generating heat).
Yet, despite using less energy than we did over a decade ago, we’re still spending way over the odds for the electricity we use. In fact, according to the National Audit office, UK energy consumers spends over £800 million more than we should for the electricity and gas that we use.
Arguably the most effective way to do this is by changing energy supplier. Only around 50% of households change energy suppliers regularly, and some have been with the same supplier (and on the same tariff) for decades. Unfortunately, very few energy suppliers will reward you for your loyalty. If you’re unsure what tariff you’re on (or even who your supplier is), you owe it to yourself to re-engage with your energy plan. If you were on a fixed-rate plan that has expired, you’ll likely be bumped to a default variable tariff. Which is usually the least competitively priced rate that a supplier offers.
The energy watchdog Ofgem suggests that consumers should switch suppliers every 12-18 months. Not only does this help you to get the best deal for your home, it also keeps the industry competitive.
Smart meters: Why they matter
The UK government aims to make smart meters available to all business and domestic energy consumers by 2025. If your energy supplier currently offers smart meters (and they should), now might be the perfect time to schedule an installation. These are still going ahead, and new safety measures are put in place to ensure that installations are COVID-safe. A smart meter allows you to track your energy usage both in kWh and in monetary terms.
A smart meter won’t reduce your energy bills directly. However, because it transmits your electricity usage data directly to your supplier, it prevents billing inaccuracies that can be caused by estimations in lieu of meter readings. You can also track the efficacy of energy-saving measures in real-time.
Use more energy off-peak
If your home has a dual-rate meter like an Economy 7 or Economy 10, you can reduce your energy bills by using more energy during off-peak hours. The trouble is that off-peak hours tend to be late at night when most of us are tucked up in bed.
Off-peak hours vary by region. However, they usually begin between 11:00 pm and 12:30 am and end between 5:00 am and 7:30 am. If possible you should use this time for:
- Powering up storage heaters to heat your home through the day
- Use washing machines or dishwashers
- Charge mobile phones, tablets and laptops
- Set tumble driers to come on first thing in the morning
Unplug the electricity vampires
The modern home has a lot of devices that spend much of their time on standby. But what many of us don’t know is that our TVs, desktop PCs, games consoles, DVD / Blu Ray players, set top boxes and other technology use up to 80% as much power when on standby as they do when active.
Try unplugging them from the wall when not in use. Or, if your plugs are inaccessible, consider investing in a timer socket that will enable you to keep them switched off in the hours when your household is asleep. These little measures can go a long way towards reducing your electric bill, saving up to £68 per year.
How can I reduce my electricity consumption?
Switching energy suppliers is a powerfully effective way to reduce your electricity bill. But even after you switch, you can still take steps to maximise your savings and drive down your energy bills even further. A little diligence (assisted by the right smart tech) and the right habits can help you to significantly cut down your electricity costs.
How to reduce electricity bill around the house?
Every room in your home represents opportunities for energy savings. For instance, replacing your old incandescent bulbs with LED or CFL lamps can save up to £55 over the lifetime of each bulb. Add those together and it can make for some powerfully effective savings.
But that’s really just the tip of the iceberg. Here, we’ll move through the home, identifying opportunities to reduce energy consumption and make it easier to reduce your electricity bills.
How to reduce electricity bill in the kitchen?
The kitchen is one of the most energy-intensive rooms in the home. Especially if your oven and hob are powered by electricity. Many of us benefit from a wealth of electrical gadgets in the kitchen, but these can add significantly to your home’s energy usage. Cooking, cooling and freezing food accounts for around 20% of the average household bill. So how can we drive this down?
Here are some tips on how to reduce your electricity bill in the kitchen:
- Wash your clothes on a lower heat setting. 30 degrees should be fine for general wear. And you need only wash above 40 degrees for heavy soiling or oil-based stains.
- Make sure your washing machine is full when you use it. A single load uses less energy than two half loads.
- Consider replacing your white goods for more energy-efficient alternatives. An A+++ rated fridge freezer, for instance, will save over £300 on your energy bills throughout its lifetime.
- Switch off appliances like washing machines, dishwashers, microwaves or electric ovens at the wall. They still use electricity when left on standby.
- Keep your oven door window clean. You lose heat and waste energy every time you open the door.
- Heat water in the kettle and transfer it to a pan rather than heating it on the hob.
- Cover pots and pans when you’re cooking and only use as much water as you need.
How to reduce electricity bill in the living room?
The living room is a place in which the whole family comes together to relax. And in this digital age, we tend to use a lot of electronic devices to aid that relaxation. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that we have to burn through electricity to enjoy our lifestyles.
Here are some ideas om how to reduce your electricity bill in the living room:
- Light your living room with energy-efficient LED or CFL bulbs.
- Replace your LCD TV with an LED TV that offers superior picture but uses less energy.
- Turn down your electric heating a notch. Even a change of a single degree could save up to £80 on your annual energy bill.
- Install a smart thermostat that allows you to reduce the amount you spend on heating without compromising comfort. These cost around £220 but can save you over £350 per year on your heating bills.
- Switch your TV, set top boxes, games consoles etc. off at the wall when not in use.
- Keep curtains and blinds open during the day in cold months so that you can heat your space with free energy from the sun.
- Keep lamps and heat-emitting electrical devices away from your thermostat. The heat from these can cause your boiler to shut off too soon and restart more frequently.
How to reduce electricity bill in the bathroom?
Although the bathroom offers a multitude of opportunities to save on your water bill, there are also a number of ways in which you can reduce your electricity bill while getting clean and relaxing in this space. Here are some energy-saving tips for the bathroom:
- Use cold water to wash your hands and brush your teeth.
- Only use electric towel heaters in the colder months.
- Avoid keeping underfloor heating on all day. Where possible program it to come on early in the morning during off-peak hours.
- Take fewer baths. If your home uses an electric water heater, a hot bath comes at a premium. Take showers more frequently and reserve baths for a relaxing treat.
- Keep your showers short. 4 minutes is all you need to get clean. This can help you save on both water and electricity.
How to reduce electricity bill when working from home
Over the past 12 months or so, there’s been a huge uptick in the number of us working from home with over 46% of the country’s population eschewing the conventional workplace for the home office. While some 86% of this surge of telecommuters is due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many have discovered the benefits of working from home. Time will tell how many of these people will continue to work from home after the pandemic. Nonetheless, this is certainly a paradigm shift that will have a lasting impact on our energy consumption.
If you are likely to be working from home for the foreseeable future, this doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to watch your energy bills soar. Here are some ideas for how to reduce your energy bill when working from home:
- Charge your phone, tablet, laptop and other devices overnight and don’t leave it plugged in during the day.
- Let the sunlight in by opening curtains and blinds while working. Not only does this save energy, it’s good for mental health and morale.
- Layer up while working rather than cranking up the heat.
- Plan your tea breaks throughout the day. Only use as much water as you need when boiling the kettle.
What uses a lot of electricity?
There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to how to reduce your electricity bill. It’s all about building your own strategy around the household devices and appliances that you use the most, and when you use them.
However, it helps to know which are the biggest electricity vampires so that you can plan and budget their use. In the table below, you’ll see some commonly used household appliances, their energy cost per use in kWh, and their average running costs for a year. Keep in mind that your costs may vary depending on your location, energy supplier and tariff:
|Appliance / Device
|Energy Cost Per Use
|Average Annual Cost To Run
How to take control of your heating
Heating your home accounts for up to 40% of your household energy bills. And if your home uses electric heaters or storage heaters, you’re paying much more to heat your home than if you were using gas central heating.
The good news is that however you heat your home, there are ways in which you can take control of your home’s heating and reduce your electricity bill.
Get to know your electric storage heater’s controls
Electric storage heaters can be tricky to get to grips with. The more you know about how they work, the easier it is to control your heating bill. These have 2 controls. One is for output, the other is for input. Set the output control according to what you want the ambient temperature to be right now. When you go out or turn in for the night, set it to zero.
The input control should be set according to how much heat you’re likely to need tomorrow. If you believe it will be cold the next day, by all means turn it up. But when your input is set to maximum but your output is set to low this can be a cause of energy waste.
Use a smart thermostat
Be honest with yourself. How many times have you meant to turn down the thermostat but either forgotten or not been able to get to it. A smart thermostat allows you to change the ambient temperature of your home from your smartphone. So you can turn it down the moment the notion strikes you, no matter where you are in the home. But that’s only the tip of the iceberg.
You can change the time when your heating comes on when your plans change. Some even learn your energy usage patterns, automatically adjusting your temperature for optimal comfort and savings when it knows that your family is home or about to come home.
Let us help you to switch supplier and reduce your energy bill
There are all kinds of ways to reduce your household electricity bill. As essential as it is to take steps to reduce energy consumption, you can enhance your savings by switching supplier. Contact the Switch-Plan team to find out how much you could save by switching to a new energy supplier.
Not only can we scour the market to bring you the perfect energy plan for your needs, we can even manage your switch from end-to-end. So you can enjoy cheaper energy quickly and 100% hassle-free.
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Does unplugging things save electricity?
It really does! Believe it or not, some devices use 80% as much energy when in standby mode as they do when active. Unplugging them at the wall when not in use could drive down your energy bill by as much as £68 per year.
How much could I save by switching energy suppliers?
This depends on your current tariff and unit rates. However, the Money Advice Service estimates that the average household could save over £300 on their annual energy bills by switching regularly.
How much electricity should I be using?
There are no right or wrong answers here, but UK average usage is around 2,900 kWh of electricity per year. If your usage is 1,800 kWh of electricity or less, you are classified as a low-usage household, while those who use 4,300 kWH or more are classed as high-usage households.
Fortunately, there are tariffs designed especially for the use of low or high usage households.
What are 10 ways to save energy?
There are dozens of ways in which the average household could save energy. However, if you’re looking for a top 10 list, we strongly recommend (in no particular order):
- Replacing all incandescent light bulbs (they’re 90% inefficient and the energy they use quickly adds up.
- Switch off electricity vampires at the wall when not in use.
- Replace your devices with energy-efficient alternatives.
- Invest in a smart thermostat.
- Identify the sources of draughts and find ways to block or seal them.
- Avoid using hot water unless it’s necessary.
- Consider replacing your windows or doors with more thermally-efficient equivalents.
- If you have a dual-rate meter, find ways to optimise your off-peak energy use.
- If your home uses electric storage heaters, be proactive in adjusting the settings as the season and weather dictate.
- Whenever you leave a room, make sure everything that uses power is switched off.
Updated on 29 Jan, 2024