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Tips on keeping energy bills down

glenn_scopeglenn_scope Scope helpline Posts: 1 Listener

With the last Bank Holiday of the summer behind us and the daylight hours shortening our thoughts are turning to autumn and winter. The cost of gas and electricity are a concern for many people. Help is available to keep the cost down.

Scope have a partnership with Npower energy experts who can talk you through energy efficiency measures and grants.

Simple and low-cost options can make a difference. Here are a few examples.

Turning your heating down by 1 degree could save up to £80 per year.

Switching everything off standby up to £30

Do one less wash a week and save up to £10.

Draught proof doors and windows and save up to £20.

Taking just these four steps could save you up to £140.

The Warm Home Discount could save you up to £140 on your winter electricity bill. Speak to your supplier to check if you are eligible.

There is so much you can do to keep the bills down while keeping safe and warm. Visit our heating bills pages for more information.

If you have any ideas you want to share about keeping bills down let our online community know about them. 


  • Sam_AlumniSam_Alumni Scope alumni Posts: 7,729 Disability Gamechanger
    @glenn_scope works for the Scope helpline and has experience of supporting people with energy bill problems, if you have any questions or your own tips, then let us know.
    Senior online community officer
  • wilkowilko Member Posts: 2,352 Disability Gamechanger
    When doing the washing up half fill the bowel with hot water turn the tap right down and let the rest of the hot water fill the bowel till like warm water runs, do this when having your morning shave men. 
  • April2018momApril2018mom Posts: 2,869 Member
    When taking a shower, use a bowl to collect extra water to use to heat up your house or cool down your plants. 
  • Sam_AlumniSam_Alumni Scope alumni Posts: 7,729 Disability Gamechanger
    These tips come from Money Supermarket

    How to save energy

    The energy saving tips below give you some tools and tactics that will help you save gas and electricity at home. We have included estimated figures from the Energy Saving Trust to illustrate the potential energy savings that you could make.

    1.      Turn off standby appliances

    • Turn appliances off at the plug to save an average of £30 a year. Households with more gadgets could see annual savings reach between £50 and £80.
    • Use plug sockets that can be turned on and off via your phone, to make sure you switch unused appliances off. You could use cheaper timer plugs to schedule turning appliances off.

    2.       Install a smart thermostat

    • Smart thermostats can make your heating more efficient by only warming the rooms you are using.
    • They learn how long it takes to heat your home, so they can have it at the right temperature at exactly the right time.
    • They can also be controlled by your phone, which means you won’t have to come back to a cold home.
    • If you installed room thermostats, programmers and thermostatic radiator valves, you could save around £150 a year.

    3.       Turn down your thermostat

    • Almost half the money spent on energy bills is absorbed by heating and hot water costs.
    • Turning your heating down by just one degree could save up to £75 a year.

    4.       Buy efficient appliances

    • Throwing out a perfectly good appliance won’t save you much money, but when it is time to swap, going for one with a high energy-efficiency rating can be worth the investment.
    • An electric oven with the new A+ efficiency rating will use around 40% less energy than a B-rated oven.
    • A modern, efficient dishwasher will typically cost around £8 less a year to run compared to an older model.
    • An A+++ fridge freezer will save around £190 in energy bills over its 10-year lifetime compared to an A+ model.

    5.       Install a new boiler

    • You can save energy by upgrading your old boiler to a new A-rated condensing boiler with a programmer, room thermostat and thermostatic radiator controls.
    • Based on fuel prices in April 2019, a detached house upgrading from a G-rated boiler could save over £300 a year.

    6.       Wash clothes at a lower temperature

    • Washing at 30 degrees rather than 40 degrees can be a third cheaper, meaning savings of up to £52 a year.
    • You might still want to run a hotter wash occasionally to help keep the machine clean.

    7.       Be smarter about water

    • You can save around £25 a year by washing up in a bowl rather than using a running tap.
    • Buying a more efficient shower head can save you as much as £75 a year on energy bills.
    • If you fit a shower timer in your bathroom, you could save up to £7 per person each year by cutting just one minute off every shower.

    8.       Invest in double glazing

    • Double glazing insulates your home from the cold and helps reduce your heating bill, as well as keeping the noise out.
    • If your detached home is entirely single glazed, you could save as much as £160 a year by installing A-rated double glazing.

    9.       Draught-proof your property

    • A cold draught can cause your home to lose heat, which makes it more tempting to turn the heating up. Draught excluders or draught-proofing kits are a good way to prevent this.
    • Seal cracks in floors and skirting boards, line your letterbox and block an unused chimney to reduce your heating bills by up to £25 a year.
    • If you don't have double glazing, you can buy plastic lining for your windows to save energy and keep more heat in.

    10.       Insulate the roof

    • Insulating your roof can stop heat escaping from your home – however the process can be complicated so it may be best to employ an expert to do this.
    • While insulating your loft can cost several hundreds of pounds, it can also shave around £200 off your energy bills each year.

    11.       Monitor your usage

    • Keeping a watchful eye on your consumption levels can help you decide if and when you have to change the way you use energy.
    • Installing a Smart Meter lets you track your consumption with accurate and real time information. Learn more about how they work with our guide to Smart Meters.

    They have lots of helpful tips on saving money in other parts of your life too, so check out their website.
    Senior online community officer
  • April2018momApril2018mom Posts: 2,869 Member
    Also instead of always turning on the central heating during the wintertime you could light a fire to keep warm.  
    The second option is to buy some hand warmers. You can find them in the shops or online. Make sure to read the reviews carefully.
    Alternatively you can get a hot water bottle to use at night in bed. Additionally whenever possible use the oven to heat up your kitchen. A hairdryer will also do the job perfectly. Move sofas away from radiators this is so that the heat can circulate properly around the room. 
    Option 4 is a electric heater. You can purchase them online. Again read reviews and compare costs carefully as well.
    Or what about a electric blanket? Look online. 
  • GeoarkGeoark Member, Scope Volunteer Posts: 1,375 Disability Gamechanger
    If you are still paying for your water via water rates consider changing to a water meter. Rule of thumb if there are less people than you are likely to save money.  You can use this water calculator to see if you would be likely to save: It is free to swap in England and Wales and if it don't work out cheaper you can choose to go back to water rates.

    If you have a water meter, or getting on you may be able to get extra help with Watersure in England or Wales. Watersure caps what you pay if you are on certain benefits and have a high essential use.

    What's meant by high essential use of water

    If your household has a high essential use of water this means:

    • someone in the household has a medical condition for which they need to use a lot of water, or
    • you have three children or more under 19 and in full-time education living in your household.

    The person with the medical condition or the children under 19 must use the property as their main home.

    Certain conditions will automatically qualify for Watersure as long as they meet the other conditions:

    • desquamation (flaky skin disease)
    • weeping skin disease (eczema, psoriasis or varicose ulceration)
    • incontinence
    • abdominal stomas
    • renal failure requiring dialysis at home  - although you won't qualify for WaterSure if you're already getting a contribution to your water costs from the NHS
    • Crohn's disease
    • ulcerative colitis.
    You can find out more at:

    If you live on your own, or struggle with a kettle, switching to a one cup kettle dispenser can help cut the cost of boiling the water and save you having to lift a heavy kettle.

    I know I have mentioned this elsewhere, but also consider switching to LED lighting. Come on instantly, use less power and last longer, initial cost is higher but still savings over the long term. We replaced most of our bulbs as the previous lights stopped working meaning the initial outlay is not in one go. There are led lighting available for most common household lights. The only one we have not replaced yet is the fluorescent light in the kitchen. There is a significant difference in prices, but savings can still be made. You do need a different starter, so if you do swap make sure that it comes with a starter, or where you can purchase one. Replace the light and starter and you are up and running. Huge bonus there should be no noise or flickering and large savings in usage.

    As an individual I stood alone.
    As a member of a group I did things.
    As part of a community I helped to create change!

  • OverlyAnxiousOverlyAnxious Member Posts: 1,426 Disability Gamechanger
    Any advice for those of us stuck with storage heating?  Sweating in bed at 2am and freezing at lunch time, and having to find double the summer bill cost for the privilege! :(  

    I only run one heater in the living/bedroom and one in the bathroom (who puts a storage heater in a bathroom!? :| ), both as low as possible with a thick jumper on, all internal doors kept closed, windows taped up to stop draughts front door draught excluder (it's not sealed as it's internal to an unheated communal hallway), not sure if there's anything else I can do?

    I have also thought about paying fixed direct debit to afford the winter bill, but it seems very high to do so.  Currently paying around £50 a month for summer bill and expect around £100 a month for winter based on last year.  Looked at moving to DD and they want £85 a month, surely it should only be £75 as hallway between best and worst months?  

    The landlord doesn't allow supplier changes so I can't shop around but am on an 'Assist Plan' and will apply for Warm Home discount again when that opens this year.
  • OverlyAnxiousOverlyAnxious Member Posts: 1,426 Disability Gamechanger
    wilko said:
    When doing the washing up half fill the bowel with hot water turn the tap right down and let the rest of the hot water fill the bowel till like warm water runs, do this when having your morning shave men. 
    Worth stating this only works for instant water heating like gas.  :)  Won't work for those with a hot water tank and electric immersion heater, the water is preheated over night so it's the same temperature no matter how much you open the tap.
  • woodbinewoodbine Community Co-Production Group Posts: 4,413 Disability Gamechanger
    Where possible replace light bulbs with LED bulbs a 5watt led e.g gives out 50 watts of light so 90% cheaper.
    Dont boil a full kettle for one or two cups of coffee, just boil what you need.
    Check you are on the best tariff with your energy supplier, I did this recently and am now paying exactly the same BUT as I have my phone and broadband with them I get a 50% discount for a year saving me almost £140, and the electric tariff is fixed for the year.
    "Putting a child into care, isn't caring for a child" (T.Rhattigan)
  • TimcarTimcar Member Posts: 15 Listener
    Good morning everyone-hope you are OK.

    Applied for Warm Home Discount in October whilst with Green Network Energy, which has now been taken over by EDF. EDF have promised to honour WHD applications that were successful but everyone I have spoken to from other suppliers seems to have been credited with their WHD by now. Anyone in similar position who has not heard back yet? 
  • MarkN88MarkN88 Member Posts: 1,229 Pioneering
    Timcar said:
    Good morning everyone-hope you are OK.

    Applied for Warm Home Discount in October whilst with Green Network Energy, which has now been taken over by EDF. EDF have promised to honour WHD applications that were successful but everyone I have spoken to from other suppliers seems to have been credited with their WHD by now. Anyone in similar position who has not heard back yet? 
    They tend to do them in batches. 

    My neighbours who are eligible for WHD got theirs before me, mine came last week. 

    They have until the 31st March. 
  • TimcarTimcar Member Posts: 15 Listener
    Many Thanks Mark-much appreciated 
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