Personal finance: How to cut your energy bills

The big six energy suppliers are finally trimming their charges, but not by much. Picture: PA

The big six energy suppliers are finally trimming their charges, but not by much. Picture: PA

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1. Switch tariff

The big six energy suppliers are finally trimming their charges, but not by much. You can cut far more from your bill in a few simple steps. You could save up to £199 on your annual energy bill simply by shopping around for a cheaper tariff. Many people are reluctant to switch but the process of comparing the most competitive tariffs is straightforward. There’ll be no work carried out at your property or in the road outside, and all the admin is sorted by the company you’re switching to – you’ll just have to supply a couple of meter readings. The whole process should take 17 days, which includes a 14-day cooling off period in case you change your mind.

2. Turn off at the plug

If we turned our TVs and other gadgets off at the plug, we could save up to £80 a year, according to the Energy Saving Trust. Entertainment equipment, such as TVs and games consoles, account for a quarter of our electricity consumption. So remember to switch off at the wall and pull out the plug. It shouldn’t upset your entertainment system, but you might want to check the instructions of your set top box. Many of us also leave our mobile phones on charge too long, often overnight.

3. Don’t overheat

No-one likes being cold, but many of our houses are simply too hot. If you turn the thermostat down by just one degree you could save £65 a year on heating costs. Remember, too, that you don’t need to turn up the thermostat when it’s cold outside as it is designed to keep the room at a constant temperature, whatever the weather.

4. Cool wash

Washing your clothes at 30 degrees instead of 40 could knock £9 a year of your energy bills. You can also save energy by making sure that washing machines and dishwashers contain a full load – and try to use eco programmes if possible.

5. Lag the pipes

You don’t have to spend a lot of money or be a DIY expert to make your home more energy efficient. For example, you could buy a British Standard jacket for your hot water tank for about £15 and save £45 a year on your energy bill. Insulating your pipes costs about £10 and it could generate an annual saving of £15.

• Kevin Pratt is an energy expert at Moneysupermarket.com

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