Image by Steven Depolo, MI, USA
Ofgem, the regulatory authority for the UK gas and electricity market has recently announced plans to introduce reforms, including a new standard of conduct that will simplify gas and electricity tariffs for UK consumers. By the end of March 2014 suppliers will be required to put details of the cheapest tariff available to that specific consumer on their bill.
This follows a fine imposed by Ofgem in May on energy and telecommunications company SSE for £10.5 million for making inaccurate and misleading statements to customers to make a sale.
Make Sure You're Getting the Best Energy Deal
- Using your most recent bill as an information source, use two or three price comparison websites to find the best deal for your gas and electricity.
- Clear your browser's cookies, then visit two or three cashback websites and see if they offer cash for switching to this company.
- If so, apply to switch through the cashback site to get the best deal and cash back for switching.
- Pay by direct debit and manage your account online and you may receive further savings.
- Sign up for Money Dashboard free money management software to keep track of how much you spend on utilities compared to your total monthly spend.
Ways to Save Money on Electricity
Once you're on the best deal, keep your bills low by avoiding wasting electricity:
- Make sure your house is well insulated. Your local council may offer cheap or free insulation schemes.
- Heat can be lost through small gaps, draft-proof your doors, windows, even pet flaps.Aluminium foil behind a radiator reflects the heat back into the room.
- Install a smart meter to monitor your energy usage and learn which appliances use most power.
- Try to get appliances with an AAA energy rating.
- Use low energy lightbulbs.
- Get some thick, quality curtains. In summer they can keep the house cool and the sun out. In winter they will keep the heat in.
- Turn your thermostat down a degree or two. It's OK to wear a jumper indoors if you're cold.
- Plug all your home entertainment appliances (except for the DVR) into an extension lead with an off switch, or a socket you can reach. Turn off the mains power rather than leaving things on stand-by.
- Make sure your boiler is energy efficient. A water boiler with poor efficiency will waste a lot of energy, it's worth replacing it if you're a homeowner or asking your landlord to replace it if you rent.
- Read up on how to save money on energy bills with Money Dashboard.