Thursday, 8 December 2011

E is for Energy Bills

It looks like the cost of energy will continue to be a hot topic for 2012.

As industry officials, consumer groups and a string of energy companies struggle with  making it easier to compare and switch suppliers.

So what can you do in the meantime?

There are two main ways of reducing bills: shopping around for the best deals and making their homes energy efficient. Doing both could save the average family hundreds of pounds every year.

Switching energy suppliers

Research by home insurance provider has found gas and electricity bills are the biggest financial worry for Britons with 39 per cent having cited utility bills as their top concern – ahead of meeting mortgage repayments.

The fact is that relatively few people are shopping around. In fact, more than half of households have never switched, according to analysis by, and could be paying well over the top for their energy.

Those who aren't shopping around for the best deal are simply burning money as finding the right tariff for their consumption level and region means bill-payers could save on average £237 per year

Make your home energy efficient

The average home can save up to £280-a-year through being more efficient, according to the Energy Saving Trust (, which launches its annual Energy Saving Week on Monday with the focus being on how to take back control of your spiralling energy bills.

Richard Bryson, from the Trust, said that everyone could start saving money immediately by implementing some small changes around their homes.

For example, about £35-a-year can be saved simply by turning appliances off at the plug rather than leaving them on stand-by, while £60 can be shaved off the annual bill by turning the thermostat down by just one degree.

The first thing to do when looking to reduce your energy bills is to consider insulating your home with loft and cavity wall insulation as the savings which can be made by properly insulating your home are enough to get all homeowners to sit up and take notice.

According to the Trust, cavity wall insulation can save you about £135-a-year on fuel bills while insulating your loft will save about £175. Also worth considering is insulating beneath floorboards and filling gaps and cracks around floors and skirting boards.

Energy can also be saved depending on the products you buy. You can look for the Energy Saving Trust Recommended logo on electrical appliances, which is a quick and easy way to spot the most energy efficient models available. The Trust estimates that replacing an old, inefficient, fridge-freezer with an energy saving recommended version could save you £26-a-year.

Make money from energy

Installing solar photovoltaic cells – which can be put on your roof or walls and capture the sun's energy, which is then turned into electricity – can not only cut your bills but potentially make you money as well.

Once you have paid for the initial installation your electricity costs should be significantly reduced. The Energy Saving Trust suggests that a typical home solar PV system can produce around 75 per cent of the electricity a household uses in a year.

You can potentially make money on any excess electricity by selling it back to the grid through a scheme known as Feed-In Tariffs (cut December 2011 to half) However, solar installations do not come cheap. Although prices will vary, you will probably be looking at the best part of £10,000 - £12,000 and would be advised to check with your local authority building control officer that the work will comply with existing regulations.

sorry it was so long, promise F will be nice and short

What do Santa's little helpers learn at school?

The elf-abet!

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