Record hikes in energy price caps have drawn our attention to gas and electricity bills even as temperatures soar, and there have been warnings they could reach £3,000 a year by this winter – so what can you do in the warmer months?
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More than half of households put off thinking about their energy use once temperatures rise, and four in ten admit they will pay more attention to their energy bills when winter arrives.
But rising energy prices are changing all that, with three quarters of Brits saying they are now more interested in saving energy all year round, figures released by The Mirror of British Gas Show.
A similar figure (77%) admits they usually think of their energy use when it comes to heating their home.
It comes after the energy price cap pushed up average prices by 54% on April 1, 2022, mainly due to a rise in international costs that suppliers pay for gas. Sources say more increases are on the horizon in October as the Ukraine crisis further impacts supplies.
Marc Robson, smart energy expert at British Gas, said: “The warmer months are a great time to save energy around the home while keeping bills down. Just because the heating is off, it’s easy to forget that we all depend on energy-hungry devices, even in summer.
“Every time I visit a customer, they’re amazed when I tell them how much they can save by making a few simple household adjustments.
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“And not only does it help them lower their bills — it’s also good news for the environment.”
The survey, conducted by OnePoll, found that just a quarter of Brits can honestly say they never leave the light on in an empty room or run the washing machine unless it’s full.
Even fewer say they never leave appliances on when not in use, or boil more water than they need in the kettle.
It’s habits like these that can add up and make all the difference.
This week Chancellor Rishi Sunak hinted there could be more help for families struggling with soaring energy bills – but not until the autumn.
In a wide-ranging interview with Mumsnet founder Justine Roberts, in which she took the Chancellor to questions from users of the site, Mr Sunak confirmed people’s concerns about the expected hike in the energy price cap in October.
“We will see what happens with the price cap in the fall. I know people are worried about this and wondering if it’s going to go up any further,” he said.
“Depending on what happens to bills then of course if we have to act and support people we will, I’ve always said that. But it would be stupid to do that now.”
The latest hike – which saw the ceiling on energy bills rise to £1,971 in early April – is only just beginning to have an impact and is expected to push millions of households into energy poverty.
Asked about measures to support families amid the cost of living crisis, Mr Sunak said: “I know things are difficult at the moment, of course they are.”
He cited raising the national insurance contribution threshold, a 5p cut in fuel taxes and a £9bn package to help people with energy bills.
“However, there is a limit to how much we should borrow as a country,” he said, adding that more borrowing could push up interest rates.
“The right thing to do is not to borrow huge amounts and just pass that bill on to our kids.”
Speaking for Labour, Shaodow Finance Secretary Tulip Siddiq said Mr Sunak’s claim that it would be ‘stupid’ to act now shows he does not understand the pressures families are under.
“How aloof is this chancellor?” she said
“Families are already feeling the effects of the cost-of-living crisis, which has been hit by record increases in energy prices, record gasoline prices and astonishingly steep increases in the cost of groceries and essential necessities.
“Since the Chancellor is still burdening them with the largest tax burden in 70 years, people pay more and get less. It’s time to act.”
Asked how someone in his financial situation can empathize with people who are struggling to make ends meet, Mr Sunak, whose wife is the daughter of an Indian billionaire, recalled his grandparents who grew up “with very little”. had emigrated to Great Britain.
“Of course I’m in a happy position now, but I didn’t start that way, my family didn’t start that way.”
He said he’s “trying to help people through some of the challenges we’re seeing with prices going up, and I’ll never forget where I came from and the values I grew up with.”
The Chancellor defended the government’s opposition to a windfall tax on oil and gas companies that have benefited from the rise in global prices, saying it would pose a risk of investment delays, although he did not completely rule out it.
“What I don’t want to do is discourage investment in our own energy supply because we want to improve our energy security so we don’t have to rely on importing a lot of things from abroad.
“If we don’t see these types of investments and if companies don’t make these investments in our country and in our energy security, then obviously I would look at it.”
Referring to the International Monetary Fund’s prediction that the UK will have the slowest growth of any G7 nation next year, Mr Sunak argued that the UK will be among the fastest growing countries in 2024-25.
He said Britons should be “confident” and “optimistic” about the economic situation.
8 ways to save energy this summer
Below, British Gas The Mirror details eight ways households can save energy this summer:
- Only heat the hot water you need: The way your boiler is set up can make a difference in how much you can save on your heating bills, especially if you have a combi boiler. A boiler’s flow rate indicates how much hot water it can send to your faucets in a minute. Set it between 50°C and 60°C and you can make sure you only heat the hot water you need. If it is not so cold outside and you do not need to warm up the house so quickly, you can also reduce the flow rate for the heating to this temperature.
- Skip the Dryer: Take advantage of the warmer weather by drying your laundry outside wherever you can, or use a tumble dryer instead of an energy-hungry tumble dryer. This can save you £60 a year.
- Wash on a colder cycle: Running your washing machine on a 30 degree cycle rather than using higher temperatures can save you around £28 on your annual bill.
- Defrost your fridge and freezer: Try to defrost your fridge and freezer regularly to keep ice build-up under control and ensure everything is working efficiently. Otherwise, they use more energy than they actually need.
- Unplug your devices: Your electronic devices such as your phone, tablet, TV, dishwasher or washing machine consume electricity in standby mode, whatever the weather. You can save around £60 a year just by thinking about unplugging.
- Be smart with fans: Most homes are not built for the summer heat, and the use of electric fans tends to increase during the warmer months. If you need to turn one on during a heat wave, position the fan at floor level so it circulates cool air instead of the warmer air higher up.
- Turn off the lights: As the days get longer, leave the curtains open and let the daylight fill your space. When you need to turn on the lights, make a habit of only lighting up rooms that are in use and you can save £20 on your annual energy bills.
- Change your shower head: an eco shower head uses less water without losing pressure. It can save a family of four around £19 off their gas bills – and an additional £30 for those with a water meter. Limiting your shower time to just four minutes can save a typical household £70 a year.
https://www.mirror.co.uk/money/british-gas-shares-8-ways-26829779 British Gas shares 8 ways to save energy now when the cost of living is biting