How To Reduce Your Energy Usage Home & Business
21 Tips On How To Reduce Your Energy Usage In Your Home & Business
I start this post with the concerning price hikes of energy providers it is predicted by experts that the energy price cap, currently at £1,971 a year, could skyrocket to £6,000 next April.
Energy consultancy Auxilione said the cap is expected to reach £3,576 in October, rising to £4,799 in January, and finally hitting £6,089 in April. Rishi Sunak, has said he would also scrap VAT on energy bills for the next year in a move that would save households around £160 a year.
Now as a consumer £160 is a saving of £13.34 per month which does not sound like much of a saving. ‘Help Is Coming’ To Ease Cost Of Living Pressures, Cabinet Minister Says | HuffPost UK Politics (huffingtonpost.co.uk)
Both leadership rivals Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss who are battling it out to be the next Prime Minister do not know the meaning of the words (Poverty & Depression) They have never experienced poverty for themselves nor their entourage on pen pushers and have never had to worry about how to make ends meet and put food on the table or a keep a roof over their heads.
So it seems ironic that they can dictate to the less well-off their mediocre plans to reduce the cost of living and they will study proposals from the Treasury over how to bring bills down for families. Perhaps if they spent more time with real people living in poverty, instead of owing trillions to the EU over Brexit people would not be suffering.
If I could be Prime Minister I would put a wage cap of £1,000,000 after that any money earned would have to be taxed exponentially.
I would not let anyone vote that did not know anything about economics or politics. The ones that were to vote would have to prove they had qualifications, experience, and an IQ. This is why the UK owe trillions to the EU because they allowed everyone to vote over the age of 18 regardless if they finished their GCSEs or not.
Cost of Living Payment £400 or £650 divided by 12 months works out £33.34 to £52.17 per month. So if bills are going to be predicted at £500 per month from next April how is this tiny offering helping families who may be not in poverty now but will be because of this elaborate game of Monopoly?
Don’t Pay Campaign – I DISAGREE WITH THE CAMPAIGN- (Instead Reduce Your Usage).
Yes I know I will have about 113,000 people disagreeing with me at the time this article has gone to press.
But if you don’t pay you will get into debt because you still owe money regardless.
The ONLY WAY to overcome this is to REDUCE YOUR USAGE so that you do not have to pay so much.
Stopping your direct debits without a payment plan in place will cause your account to go to debt recovery.
Debt collectors put their costs on top of recovering the debt and you will be forced to have a smart meter. How Safe Are Smart Meters For Your Health? | DISABLED ENTREPRENEUR – DISABILITY UK Not only will you get into debt, but it will also damage your credit rating making it difficult to get credit in the future.
There is currently a campaign going on planned for the 1st of October 2022 Don’t Pay (dontpay.uk) to get the consumer to refuse to pay their utility bills and cancel their direct debits.
I disagree with the campaign and I only agree with one thing and that is to stop your Direct Debits and MOVE OVER TO A MONTHLY PAYMENT PLAN ( Magnetic Card or Bank transfer) where you can pay at a post office, bank transfer, or via their websites.
I do NOT agree that everyone should stop paying their bills this will be catastrophic and will cause a domino effect. People will get into debt and will have debt collectors chasing them.
Direct Debits were a way to conveniently pay on time and also save you a bit of money paying via this method, according to British Gas you could save up to 7% off the cost of your energy when you pay by Direct Debit (example – 7% on a bill of £100 you would save £7.00) This will be shown as a discount line on your bill. But if they raise their prices you will not be saving anything and having a Direct Debit allows them the take out more money even if you cannot afford it. Don’t Pay (dontpay.uk)
- CONTACT YOUR UTILITY PROVIDERS – and ask them to switch to a magnetic card and pay at a post office or online. Ask them for their bank details if you intend to pay by bank transfer or set up a standing order with your bank where you have control of your bank account.
- CANCEL YOUR DIRECT DEBITS ASAP – do not wait until October, but you must change to a payment plan first by contacting your energy provider. They may be insistent you must have a direct debit agreement, do not get intimidated.
- REDUCE YOUR USAGE – The less you use the less money they make and their profits will drop. This is the ultimate way to hurt them where it hurts and that is in their pockets.
- DO NOT STOP PAYING – continue paying your usual amount.
- DO REGULAR METER READINGS – and monitor your usage.
- REFUSE SMART METER INSTALLATION – https://disabledentrepreneur.uk/how-safe-are-smart-meters-for-your-health/
- IF THEY REFUSE TO PUT YOU ON A PAYMENT PLAN – Write to them with your proposal of what you intend to pay and on what day of the month.
- IF YOU HAVE NO PAYMENT PLAN AND HAVE CANCELLED YOUR DIRECT DEBIT – they may demand all the money you owe in one lump sum. Continue paying your usual affordable monthly payment and contact them again but continue reducing your energy consumption, whilst updating them weekly by phone or email. (The calls are recorded). Keep a note of when you made the call and keep a diary of the conversation. This will come in handy when things start to escalate. They will threaten you with debt collection agencies and will add recovery fees on top of what you owe.
- IF THEY THREATEN YOU WITH A DEBT COLLECTION AGENCY – report them to OFGEM (The utility & telecommunication ombudsman), I will add their contact detail towards the end of this article.
- CONTACT YOUR GP – There is an article in the news if you are unwell because of the way creditors are behaving you should contact your GP and they can write a prescription letter: Brits could get money off their energy bills by getting a PRESCRIPTION from their GP under radical new plans | The Sun (To be honest I do not know how that would work unless you genuinely were diagnosed with a disability. I use my www.disabilityuk.co.uk site to document my health) and encourage anyone facing difficulties to reach out.
This is what the media are saying about not paying your bills which can land you in heaps of trouble: What is ‘Don’t Pay UK’ and what could happen if you refuse to pay soaring energy bills? | ITV News
How might a mass payment strike impact the energy industry?
Hafez Abdo an associate professor at the University of Nottingham Energy Insitute was quoted as saying “Such action may have detrimental consequences on energy companies and supply chains”.
While acknowledging that non-payment would be a means of expressing anger at “unbearable” energy prices, Mr. Abdo explained that some firms might suffer “a severe hit to their cash inflow and this means these companies would not be able to pay for their liabilities and other operating costs”.
“People may lose their jobs and businesses in the supply chain may go bankrupt”.
So although the prospect of all the CEOs of the utility companies losing their jobs sounds promising, the knock-on effect on everyone else would prove detrimental to the energy industry. I believe if everyone reduced their usage drastically this would hurt the energy provider’s profits.
It does not surprise me that ‘Amnesty International has just announced in Breaking News that our ‘Human Rights are being taken away from us by the UK government which by coincidence will be in preparation for ‘Civil Unrest/Disobedience’ the ‘Don’t Pay’ Campaign is going to cause. Home | Amnesty International UK
How To Reduce Your Home Energy Consumption.
Reduce Your Energy Usage – Hit Utility Companies Where It Hurts!
As the alarming energy bills rise, we must find ways to dramatically reduce your fuel consumption and monthly costs.
Winter is around the corner and energy bills are at a record high we need to start preparing to combat the problem and that is not to refuse to pay as that will land you in debt.
Obviously, some of the suggestions in the list only apply to homeowners but for people who rent, you have to make do with what you have and your own resources. for example, none of my windows are double glazed and I’ve been in rented accommodation through a private landlord. Therefore the Landlord should be as much to blame as the utility companies for me using more energy to keep my home warm.
1. Invest in Building insulation, roofing solutions, and draught proofing
Winter-proof your home by installing draught-proofing strips around window frames and door edges. Consumer group Which? suggests using a special inflatable balloon designed to block unused open chimneys and silicone-based filler to fill gaps in floorboards and skirting. (Although this applies to homeowners, landlords should also be made to be responsible to keep your home warm).
If you are a renter and plan to insulate your home yourself, keep a record/receipts of the items you have bought.
Check for leaks and drafts in your building, your premises won’t be energy efficient. Invest in insulation to cut down your energy consumption by 10%. Ceiling insulation is equally important. It is an essential part that helps keep the warmth in during winter and can cool the property in summer. Loft insulation can keep indoors up to a 10c cooler during the summer (this is a homeowner/landlord problem) – I do not have loft insulation.
Certain roof tiles are better at reflecting the sun’s rays, or you can paint a roof with heat reflective paint. This reduces the amount of heat absorbed during the summer months and puts less pressure on cooling devices.
2. Unplug gadgets
Evaluate your gadgets, and refrain from leaving them on standby, especially if they are old. Unplugging could save £55 a year, according to the Energy Savings Trust. Unplug chargers when they are not in use and turn off your TVs, Computers, and Gaming Consoles.
- Rising energy bills: What do I need to do before energy costs go up — and what help is available?
- Eco-friendly ways to improve your home, from used kitchens to recycled garden decking
- ‘I built one of the UK’s most sustainable homes where the energy bills cost just £200 per year’
3. Swap your lightbulbs
Swap your lightbulbs to LED lightbulbs to save around £180 per year. My landing is usually quite dark living in a top-floor flat and up until the price hikes I used to have my landing light on 24/7 I have now changed my habits and only have it on at night using LED bulbs.
Switch to one of the following:
- Compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs)
When possible, replace incandescent lamps with CFLs. Make sure you install compatible dimming technology if there is already a dimming system in place.
- T8 (if your office lights use fluorescent T12)
When fluorescent T-12 lamps need replacing you have the option to switch to T-8 lamps and change from magnetic ballast to electronic.
- Light-emitting diodes (LEDs)
LED lights are your best choice – they use up to 75% less energy and they last 25 years longer than standard bulbs.
COST: Around £3 per bulb.
4. Defrost Freezer
My fridge freezer is on its way out. In the past, my landlord being the cheap skate always bought second-hand white goods so I replaced the appliance whenever I could afford to. I would much rather wait to buy a brand new fridge freezer than have something that will break every few months.
Your fridge-freezer costs on average £115 to run, but you can cut this down by defrosting food in your fridge to help cool your fridge temperature down. Don’t put hot food in the fridge or freezer. Let it cool down first. Don’t let ice build-up, as this makes freezers less efficient
(This is a problem for me as one of the trays has completely frosted over).
COST – Free
5. Insulate your loft
This is for the homeowner and your landlord to do (but if your landlord does not like to spend money he is not obliged to insulate anything in your home and it is up to you to claim compensation when you leave the property. Keep a record of your costs and how much money you could have saved by obtaining an energy efficiency report. Off the top of my head, they are around £40 but I could be wrong (Do your research). Getting your loft insulated saves up to £ 135 a year according to Which? Make sure it is at least 270mm thick for optimum impact. This will make your loft colder so, at the same time, insulate any water pipes up there. (This is a homeowner/property owner or landlord problem).
COST: Between £400 and £600 according to checkatrade.com, significantly less if you do it yourself.
6. Reflect heat
If you plan to use radiators this winter consider fitting reflector panels behind radiators on uninsulated external walls will keep your room warmer and could save you around £25 a year, said Joanna O’Loan, knowledge manager at the Energy Saving Trust.
COST: £7.59 for 1.88 sq m (www.screwfix.com)
Screwfix has reflector panels for sale for £7.59
I have noticed that gas is costing more than electricity, so this winter I will not be putting my central heating on and will use oil-filled electric radiators Last year for three months straight I would have my central heating on 24/7, my usage is drastically going to change this winter coming. I will only be using the radiators when it is extremely cold. I plan to wear multiple layers of thermal clothing and thermal wear socks in bed. I have an existing issue going on with my gas energy provider so I begrudge giving them any more money than I have to.
7. Heat only what you need
Save hot water by not washing up every five minutes let your dishes pile up (not too much, though), and use a plug in your sink or a washing-up bowl.
COST: Recycled plastic washing-up bowl, £4 (www.johnlewis.com).
Air dry clothes
Hang washing out to dry (or on the radiator in winter) rather than using a power-guzzling tumble dryer. A tumble dryer costs £105 (based on 148 cycles per year) to run. (I have a washer/dryer and wash once a week, so if I wash on average once a week rounded off to 50 cycles will cost about £30 per annum, I have just saved £70 per year).
COST: Free, if you hang out your clothing to air dry.
8. Be savvy with appliance use
Cookers – I wanted to have an electric cooker when I bought the appliance only to find out later that I needed a special connection plug and thought my landlord would moan about the added expense so I settled for Gas, which now is costing an arm and a leg to run. I have reduced my cooking to 10 -12 days a month the rest of the time I have sandwiches, salads, and ready-made meals which can be heated in a microwave. Electric hobs cost £85 per year, versus £60 for an electric oven (based on 135 uses), so theoretically baking is cheaper than cooking on a hob. Consider ready-made meals which you can heat up in a microwave. You can also cook jacket potatoes and other recipes, it does not all have to be ready-made. Microwave Cookbook 365: Enjoy 365 Days With Amazing Microwave Recipes In Your Own Microwave Cookbook!
Dishwashers – cost £55 for 135 uses, and should only be run when full. Use your hands and wash up in the sink.
Kettles – boiled 1,524 times in a year will cost £48. Reduce this by only boiling the amount of water you actually need. I used to drink hot drinks like coffee until I discovered energy drinks so I very rarely use the kettle unless I am boiling water for ramen noodles. There are plenty of alternatives to boiling the kettle every five minutes.
9. Get smart with tech
Most new versions of combi boilers come with a control that can regulate every room. If you do not have a state-of-the-art combi boiler you can consider investing in a smart thermostat that allows you to operate your heating remotely, so you can adjust it depending on the weather and your plans.
Smart thermostats are must-haves for all homes and businesses. Thanks to innovative mobile and web applications, motion sensors, and usage monitoring features, a smart thermostat can help you regulate the temperature with minimal effort or errors. Some are programmable and can automatically adjust temperature settings based on the time of the day and day of the week.
COST: This depends on what kind of radiator valves you have, but a smart thermostat costs around £225, including installation, according to checkatrade.com.
10. Upgrade your heating
Running your boiler accounts for around half of your energy use. If you’ve got an old boiler you could save around £195 per year by upgrading to an A-rated condensing boiler. (Check out energy grants to help with keeping your home warmer especially if you are vulnerable and have disabilities), even if you are renting your landlord will be over the moon if you are entitled to upgrades.
Turning down the temperature on your combi boiler and in your rooms can cut your gas bill by six to eight percent according to research by the Heating and Hot Water Council. Most boilers are set to provide water to radiators and taps at around 80°C – by turning it down to 70°C to save.
COST: Around £2,000.
11. Choose showers
Showering saves water and also saves money by running a hot bath. The Energy Saving Trust estimates that swapping a weekly bath with a four-minute shower will save £35 per person per year. A water-saving shower head will reduce the amount of hot water you use by adjusting the flow and spray pattern of water.
COST: Hansgrohe Crometta 85 Eco Shower Handset, £32.99 (www.screwfix.com).
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12. Microwave on
Cooking in a microwave is the cheaper option especially if you buy ready meals.
There are plenty of cookbooks you can buy where you can cook from scratch: Amazon.co.uk : microwave cook books
Microwaves are cheaper to run than cookers and hobs, said Joanna O’Loan, knowledge manager at the Energy Saving Trust. Use it for anything that is slow to cook, for example, baked potatoes and risotto. Nigella Lawson famously uses her ‘meekro-wav-ay’ to make colcannon while Jamie Oliver has a nifty recipe for a microwaved steamed pudding that would help with insulating your tummy.
COST: Beko 20L Solo Microwave, £64.97 (www.appliancesdirect.co.uk).
13. Fit solar panels
Generating your own power is the most drastic option for energy savers, reducing bills by up to £ 400 per year. (£400 x 24 years =£9,600 would be how much I could have saved had I had solar panels. Solar power was invented in 1839 by French physicist Edmond Becquerel at the tender age of 19. Who Invented Solar Power? The Story of How & Who Discovered Solar Power
Solar panels work best on south-facing roofs, which are not shaded during the day and you will need expert advice to check if your home is suitable, and what kind of panels you will need (start by checking out: https://energysavingtrust.org.uk/).
If you do install solar panels you may be able to export the power you don’t use back to the grid, and get paid for it – the Energy Saving Trust estimates that typical earnings would come in at £80 to £110 per year. On this basis breaking even will take around 14 years, but in the current climate solar panels are turning into a real selling point if you are considering moving home.
Solar panels are a smart long-term strategy to save on energy costs and ensure that the energy used in your business is clean and renewable. Solar panels may have an expensive upfront cost but will recover that over several years. Once installed there are few maintenance issues and they will start to bring down your monthly energy bill.
COST: An average of £6,500 according to www.moneysavingexpert.com.
14. Look for efficiency
Avoid buying second-hand white goods, you will not know for certain how much money you may be wasting. If you intend on buying a new washing machine go for an energy-efficient model to save. Which? the research found that different models running costs vary from £15 per year to £70. Inthewash.com recommends the Haier HW80-B1439N 8kg washing machine for its combination of good value and low energy consumption. I personally would go for a brand I have heard of. My washer/dryer is an Indesit and I pay a monthly breakdown cover which costs me £5.00 per month.
COST: £399 (www.ao.com).
15. Wash at 30°C
Whatever model you have don’t run half-empty machines, wait until you have a full load. Washing clothes at 30°C instead of 40°C can save you around £9 a year.
16. Go for Double Glazing
Double glazing is a job for homeowners and landlords, switching over from single to A-rated double glazing should save up to £110 per year. (£110 x 24 years = £2,640 that I could have saved over the years had I had double-glazed windows, the flat below me was fitted out but mine never was even though I have the longest tenant). An alternative to double-glazed windows on a budget is:
WINDOW FILM – The number one choice when you’re deciding how to insulate windows, whether you’re planning garage insulation or insulation in a shed, is window film. Made from plastic, window film is easy to apply and comes in a kit that generally includes the film and tape for the window.
BUBBLE WRAP – is a good way to insulate a window if a warmer home is an urgent requirement. We have to admit that it’s not going to help any with the view, though.
USE CAULK – To insulate windows effectively, you may need to use a combination of methods for the best results. So, if you can feel a draft coming through the window before you apply the plastic film, try using caulk to seal the gaps.
HANG INSULATING CURTAINS – Hanging insulating curtains at the window can also help with insulation. This can be a solution you use after caulking and/or weatherstripping, and combined with the use of window film or bubble wrap.
COST: £200 to £700 per window according to doubleglazingnetwork.com
17. Air Conditioning
Planting trees outside of your office building can provide shade and keep the building cool during summer. Trees can also purify the air and create a much healthier home environment for your employees, this will reduce your air conditioning and air cooling costs if you are on a commercial property. Alternatively depending on where your home or business’s premises are located, you should consider covering up the windows with blinds. This stops direct sunlight from entering and heating the building. These can be particularly helpful on south-facing windows.
18. Invest in cogeneration systems
In large facilities, cogeneration energy systems – also known as Combined Heat and Power (CHP) systems – can recover waste heat from on-site generators and transform it into water and space heating.
19. Consider smart design elements
Whether you are a business and looking for premises or you are an architect planning on building a custom commercial property, you should consider energy-smart design elements such as reflective outside mirrors and rooftop green areas.
20. Shut off unused areas of the premises
If your business premises are extensive, consider shutting down a whole area and carrying out the work in just a portion of the building. This won’t just reduce running costs, it can also optimize operations.
21. Avoid buying secondhand
Every time your equipment, machinery, or system breaks down, see it as an opportunity to invest in better, more energy-efficient alternatives. If you have a piece of equipment that breaks down think of the repair costs and whether would it be better to trade in for a newer model rather than trying to fix things? The cheapest option is to buy a breakdown cover that way you will not get charged for callouts or repairs and if they cannot fix it they will replace it. Buying a breakdown cover is better than having to find a large wad of money to buy new equipment. This might seem an unnecessary cost at first, but you will be able to count on more efficient tools that will last longer.
FINAL WORDS FROM THE EDITOR
Be prepared for energy prices to soar to £6,000 from April next year. Start making changes and avoid getting yourself into debt.
I have compiled a list of useful links on my other site. I have also included OFGEM energy and telecommunications ombudsman details, plus many links to financial support & charities. USEFUL LINKS | DISABLED ENTREPRENEUR – DISABILITY UK
ENERGY & UTILITY BILLS SUPPORT
https://britishgasenergytrust.org.uk/ (Help With Utility Bills)
Energy Ombudsman complaints form or call 0330 440 1624
British Gas complaints.
You can do one of the following:
- Fill in an online form
- Online Chat
- Phone: 0333 202 9532
- Email Customer Complaints at: email@example.com (This fell on deaf ears, just saying).
Remember to keep a log of all phone calls you make, emails you send and ask for copies of transcripts if you are on online chat, and any phone calls you make.
Just beware that ‘British Gas’ online chat says they send out transcripts of your conversations but in reality, they do not so screenshot your conversations.
Do not be intimidated by any of your energy suppliers, they may use bully tactics and tell you the only way you can have a payment plan is if you have a Direct Debit (this actually happened to me so I reported them to the ombudsman) You have every right for them to move you to a magnetic card payment plan whereby you can go to the post office or pay by bank transfer, standing order or online via their websites.
Do cancel your direct debits asap after you have communicated with your energy supplier. If you continue with a Direct Debit you essentially give the energy supplier a license to increase the payments and take money out of your account which you may not be able to cover.
Be in control of your bank account and do not let your bank account control you. Not having enough money to cover your direct debit will incur bank charges of up to £30 which will start getting you in debt.
If you cancel your direct debit without a payment plan in place they will send your account to debt recovery where the debt collectors put a charge for collection on top of your bill. Always communicate with the energy supplier even if it means phoning them every single day.
Finally, reduce your usage (this is super important, have takeaways or ready-made meals or as I do, sandwiches, salads, takeaways or ramen noodles – I have managed to reduce my Gas to £30 pm.
They rely on profits and if everyone used less energy the less money they make!
Renata is a businesswoman and published author. She primarily focuses on Digital Marketing, Content Writing, Website Design, Develo[pment, SEO, and Domain Brokering.
Renata is also the Editor of 'iRenata.com', 'UK Website Designers', 'Cymru Marketing Journal', 'UK Domain Brokers' and 'Disability UK Online Magazine.
Renata offers several services for startups and SMEs.
Renata has a large network of over 11K connections on LinkedIn, compromising Directors, CEOs, Millionaires, Billionaires, and Royalty. https://www.linkedin.com/in/renata-b-48025811/