Ways to cut your energy bills this winter
News 31/01/2019 Health & wellbeing

Staying warm in winter need not break the bank

As the UK braces itself for yet another Beast from the East, it’s a good time to take stock of how you keep yourself warm. Our Energy Wise service offers residents a free energy assessment to help them get the best deal from energy providers. In 90% of cases, people can save money by simply switching providers. So far, some 3,000 residents have contacted the service and been able to improve their finances, by saving an impressive £500,000 that would have otherwise gone to the providers.

Along with hunting around for an energy plan that suits individual needs, savings can also be made if a resident is entitled to a Warm Home Discount or any unclaimed entitlements, such as Winter Fuel Payments. The Government's Warm Home Discount scheme runs between September and March and pays £140 towards electricity bills. It can also be used towards a gas bill, providing that you have the same supplier for both gas and electricity.

Some residents may also be eligible for a winter fuel payment. This can be worth between £100 and £300, depending on circumstances. The deadline for checking if this can be applied to you is at the end of February.

With the cold change upon us, our immune system is doing all it can to help fight off germs and infections. However, as we get older, the immune system becomes weaker and we're more susceptible to catching winter bugs. That’s why, each year, the NHS encourages older people to have flu and pneumonia vaccinations. According to figures from Age UK, six out of ten people treated for flu in hospital last year were over the age of 65. Therefore, if you haven’t already done so, it’s worth booking in for a vaccination via your GP.

We believe it’s important that residents understand the impact that keeping warm and saving energy has on their wellbeing. We’ve compiled a list of our Top 10 Energy Wise tips:

  1. Only boil as much water as you need – boiling a cupful of water uses far less energy than boiling a whole kettle full
  2. Don’t overheat – aim for 21°C in the lounge and 18°C elsewhere. Open windows for a short time to allow fresh air in - the room will quickly warm up once you close them
  3. Draw the curtains at dusk to help keep the heat in – drawing the curtains when it begins to get dark outside will really help your room to stay warm. Also opening your curtains once it’s light outside will help warm your rooms up naturally in the morning
  4. Use the right sized pan for the hob and use a lid – cooking using smaller pans will use less energy. If you also cook with the lids on, this will help cook the food more quickly, while also reducing condensation, which can cause damp and mould
  5. Defrost your fridge and freezer regularly to keep them working efficiently - let food cool down before putting it in the fridge, and defrost frozen food in it overnight to help your fridge run more economically
  6. Washing machines - 90% of the energy a washing machine uses goes towards heating the water. Setting a wash at 30°C could save over a third of the energy you use, compared to washing at higher temperatures
  7. Reduce your singing time in the shower - spending just one minute less in the shower each day will help reduce your energy bills. Having a water meter could also help bring additional savings from your annual water and sewerage bills
  8. Switch to LEDs - you can now get LED bulbs that are bright enough to replace halogens, as well as regular energy saving bulbs (‘compact fluorescent lamps’ or CFLs). Replacing all old-fashioned bulbs with CFLs, and all halogens with LEDs, could save you even more on bills
  9. Turn off lights - turn your lights off when not using them. Switching lights off for just a few seconds will save more energy than it takes for the light to start up again, regardless of the type of light
  10. Switch off standby - save around £30 a year just by remembering to turn your appliances off standby mode. Almost all electrical and electronic appliances can be turned off at the plug without upsetting their programming. Think about getting a standby saver which allows you to turn all your appliances off standby in one go. Check the instructions for any appliances you aren’t sure about. Some satellite and digital TV recorders may need to be left plugged in.

You can find out more about our Energy Wise service here.

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