Electricity bill: How to reduce it?
Your electricity bill reflects the different concepts that you must pay for electricity supply during a billing period. However, by adopting good daily habits or even changing energy suppliers, you can significantly reduce energy consumption and thus save money. In this article, we explain how to reduce your electricity bill and how to understand it.
Compare energy prices and find the cheapest energy supplier
Changing your energy provider can mean significant savings on your electricity bill. Contracting the electricity rate that best suits your needs and consumption habits is a great opportunity to reduce the electricity bill. To do this, you should compare energy prices on the market and choose the one that offers a competitive price and better conditions.
Among things to consider when you switch energy supplier are:
- The supplier’s customer service and reputation;
- If the offer is the cheapest, environmentally-friendly or flexible should you decide to switch;
- Possible incentives or cashback as part of the offer to switch;
- If there is a switching guarantee. Some suppliers offer this to help you switch with confidence.
By taking advantage of the competitiveness of the energy provider market with the help of comparison experts, such as Selectra, the user will be able to contemplate the different offers of the electricity companies, together with their price and conditions.
- How to identify the best electricity rate?
- Indefinite discount;
- Optional maintenance service;
- Contract without permanence.
Contrary to popular belief, consuming green energy is not always more expensive. By choosing a green electric company, the consumer not only participates in the energy transition, but can even save money on their electricity bill.
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Reduce energy consumption to save on electricity bills
Another option to save on the gas and electric bill is to reduce energy consumption.
Making small changes to your daily life not only means participating in reducing energy consumption but also avoiding waste and saving electricity:
- Use LED bulbs;
- Buy high-efficiency, low-consumption electrical appliances (label A + or higher);
- Schedule air conditioning or heating an hour before you get home, rather than trying to get the home to cool or warm right away;
- Take advantage of sunlight and keep the light on only when necessary;
- Turn off unused appliances and avoid “stand-by” mode;
- Keep the refrigerator temperature between 3 and 7 degrees;
- Do not use hot washing programmes in washing machines or dishwashers, but rather short or eco and cold water programmes.
Average electricity bill in UKAccording to Ofgem, the industry ombudsman, the average electricity bill in the UK in 2020 was £59 a month, or £707 per year. That’s an increase of 1.3% from 2019. The amount varies according to the property in which you live - the average bill for a small 1-2 bedroom house is £34 a month, while the average for a large five-bedroom property is around £70 a month.
Switch energy supplier to being self-sufficient at home
The next step, after reducing electricity consumption, is to generate energy at home and thus become self-sufficient.
What is self-sufficiency?Self-sufficiency consists of generating your own electricity (mainly solar energy) and consuming it directly from home.
There are a number of ways to become self-sufficient in the UK. Here are some examples of how to do it and things to consider:
- An effective way to generate your own electricity is to install solar panels on your roof. They convert sunlight into electricity, storing it in batteries for subsequent use.
- In remote or rural areas, you should consider using a small wind generator if you have an appropriately windy site. Another option is to use a micro-hydro generator if you have access to a river or creek.
- Find out if you can link these systems to the national grid, for back-up just in case.
- As part of the Government’s ‘Smart Export Guarantee’, UK homeowners who install new rooftop solar panels can lower their bills by selling the energy they do not need back to their supplier.
- Discuss your needs with specialist suppliers before buying.
- Change to energy-efficient products to cut household greenhouse gas emissions in half.
The importance of solar energy
As the world battles the effects of climate change and global warming, solar panels have emerged in recent years as a viable option to reduce our carbon footprint. According to research by the EcoExperts, there are almost one million homes in the UK that have solar panels already installed - helping those homeowners reduce their electricity bills.
To highlight the growing importance of solar energy in the UK, here are some key facts and statistics about its use:
- In 2019, 39% of the UK’s electricity was generated by using fossil fuels, while 40% came from renewable energy - the first time that has happened. Ten years ago, 80% of the UK’s electricity was produced by fossil fuels.
- Wind and solar power are expected to make up 50% of the UK’s energy by 2050.
- The amount of solar power generated in the UK every year would produce around 11 million cups of tea.
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How to read your electricity bill?
Understanding the electricity bill is essential to know how much is spent for the supply and for what reason. Knowing what concepts are included in each electricity bill is necessary to reduce your energy consumption and thus be able to save on electricity bills.
What is the electricity bill?The electricity bill is the receipt that details the electricity consumption made by each customer and the amount that must be paid for it.
The electricity bill, regardless of the electricity provider, includes all the terms and concepts that affect the maintenance of the service, the rights to have it connected and the amount corresponding to the energy expenditure made over the billing period.
Some of the things you should look out for include:
- Account or customer number: This is unique to you, and you’ll need it when you contact your supplier.
- Bill date and bill period. The bill date is when the bill or statement was sent out. The bill period is the date range that the bill or statement refers to.
- Balance on the last statement: This shows the balance carried over from the last bill or statement you received.
- Payments received: This records the payments you’ve made since the last bill or statement.
- Previous Account Balance: This is the outstanding balance from the last bill or statement less any payments made since. On a bill this figure will be £0.00 if you have paid off your previous bill.
- Charges for this period (including VAT): This records the total costs incurred of all the gas and/or electricity used within this billing period.
- Your new account balance: This is what you owe, or are owed, in total. It’s a combination of the charges for this period plus the balance from the previous period, taking account of all of the payments received.
- What do I pay? This is how much you pay currently if you are paying by direct debit, or how much you owe if it’s a bill.
- Personal projection: This is a prediction of how much your gas and/or electricity will cost over the next year.
- Your bill or statement must show whether there is a cheaper tariff you could switch to with your current supplier.