Further energy price increases are expected this fall, on top of the 50+ announced over the last year and a half. This means it will be a very expensive winter for households, with the threat of power cuts.
Consumers are already feeling the strain of higher energy bills.
Electricity bills are now around €900 a year higher than they were 18 months ago.
The gas bills are therefore on average 800 euros higher per year bonkers.ie.
And more price hikes are expected as the Russians restrict gas flows to Europe.
St. Vincent De Paul has reported a 20 percent increase in requests for assistance since the beginning of this year compared to last year.
According to calculations by the Economic and Social Research Institute, up to 70 percent of households could fall into energy poverty if we were to experience price increases similar to those of recent years.
Here we look at how households can prepare for the upcoming winter energy crisis while maintaining a more sustainable home.
Get solar panels
Not only will you save a lot of money by having solar panels installed in your home, but you can also help the environment.
According to a study conducted at University College Cork, households could reduce their electricity bills by €450 per year by installing panels.
Researchers examined every roof in Ireland using satellite data and found that over a million homes have a roof area and orientation suitable for 10 solar panels.
This number of panels will cost you between €7,000 and €9,000 and it is advisable to get several quotes.
There are grants from the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) of up to €2,400 to cover upfront costs.
This week Flogas announced it is now paying the highest price in the market for unused electricity generated by homeowners, businesses and farms using solar panels.
As part of its new SolarGen campaign, Flogas pays 20 cents per kWh for the unused electricity.
The rate is guaranteed until next March, Flogas said.
SSE Airtricity and Pinergy also pay you for excess electricity that goes back into the grid.
In Ireland, due to our climate, 75% of the energy you generate with a solar panel in your home is used between May and September.
They work on gray rainy days, although they produce more on a sunny day.
SEAI suggests that at least 40 percent of a family’s annual needs could potentially be met by a standard system, although that depends a bit on how you use energy and the size of the system.
change energy providers
Despite rising energy prices, it is worth switching providers.
Most suppliers still offer big discounts of up to 40 pieces or more for a whole year to new customers to entice them to switch.
Anyone who pays electricity and gas at the standard tariff and switches can currently save an average of over 900 euros a year, which takes the sting out of rising prices.
If you only switch to electricity, you can save 300 euros a year.
Daragh Cassidy of price comparison site bonkers.ie said: “This is the year you definitely don’t want to pay too much for your gas or electricity.”
Get a stove
An inexpensive alternative to an open fireplace is to install a stove and a flue.
Options include gas, solid fuel and multi-fuel.
According to SEAI’s Tom Halpin, a stove radiates 60 percent of its heat into the room, compared to just 30 percent from an open fire.
It usually costs between €3,000 and €8,000 depending on the stove specification and the length of the chimney.
Apply for a scholarship
Worryingly, the cost of retrofits has skyrocketed recently.
But last February, the government announced a huge increase in the grants available through SEAI to allow homeowners to make energy-efficient upgrades to their homes.
Available grants have been increased by up to 50 percent.
For example, you receive a subsidy of up to 1,700 euros for cavity insulation and up to 80 percent of the costs for attic insulation.
There are 11 one-stop shops registered with SEAI. Visit the website at seai.ie for more information.
The entire process of energetic refurbishment is handled from a single source. The operator assesses what you need, calculates the cost, plans the work, performs the hanging and applies for a SEAI grant on your behalf.
An Post’s Green Hub in partnership with SSE Airtricity can help you discover which type of stove is best for your home.
And many credit unions have partnered with one-stop shops to offer low-interest loans for jobs that make your home more energy efficient.
If you’re over 65 and live in poor housing, you may also be able to get a grant from your municipality for new windows and doors.
Check with your local authority if you think you are eligible.
Look for ways to reduce your energy consumption
Two thirds of the energy in a household is used for heating.
So it makes sense to control the heating system whether you heat your house with oil, gas, electricity or solid fuels.
Many people are guilty of overheating the house in winter.
A temperature of 20 degrees is ideal. Each degree above that increases the cost of heating the home by 10 percent, says SEAI.
Meanwhile, not maintaining a boiler regularly can increase heating bills by about 5 percent.
Reduce water heating costs
Make Sure Your Water Cylinder Is Properly Insulated — You can reduce your hot water heating costs by up to 30 percent simply by properly insulating your tank.
A good three-inch lamb jacket will pay for itself in no time and save you a bunch of bonkers.ie, said Mr. Cassidy.
There’s a misconception among many Irish people that turning the soak on and off uses more energy and that it’s cheaper to keep the water hot continuously – that’s wrong, Mr Cassidy says.
Instead, turn on your immersion only when you need hot water. Half an hour should be enough for most households.
Upgrade your lightbulbs
An LED light bulb uses about 80 to 90 percent less electricity than a conventional light bulb and lasts up to 10 times longer.
Replacing just one lightbulb will save you around €6 a year in electricity.
So replacing all the lightbulbs in your home could easily save you up to €60 a year, depending on how many bulbs you have, Mr Cassidy said.
https://www.independent.ie/business/personal-finance/how-to-save-money-and-make-your-home-more-energy-efficient-as-prices-rise-41940841.html How to save money with rising prices and make your home more energy efficient