The price of energy bills always seems to be in the news. And they always seem to be going up! Whether you think that your energy bills are too high or not, we should all be conscious of the amount of energy that we are using, its impact on the environment, and its impact on our pockets.
Looking into why your energy bill might be higher than necessary is important if you want to improve energy efficiency and bring the costs of running your home down. If you think that your energy bills are too high, here is a guide to understanding why that might be.
What Causes High Gas and Electricity Bills?
There are a number of reasons why your energy bills might be higher than you expected them to be. Some of them include:
Higher Energy Prices
There is a chance that your energy supplier has increased the price of the energy that you are using. You can check this by comparing the unit price on your current bill with previous bills. If you think that these prices are too high, you can compare them with other energy providers on a price comparison website.
Price Usage Estimates
Some energy companies calculate their energy bills based on the estimated usage of their customers. These can sometimes be inaccurate, so if you think that this might be the case with you, check the meter readings and inform your energy company so that they can adjust your bills.
Increased Energy Use
It might be the case that you have been using more energy. It could be that you have turned the heating on after the summer – if you are using certain appliances more, or if you have more people in the property, for example.
It could also be the case that your home is losing energy. If you are heating the property but the heat is escaping easily, it will cost you more to keep it warm over the winter. You can help to make your home more energy efficient by insulating it.
How Much is the Average Energy Bill?
Due to the situation in the world, the price of energy keeps rising. As do energy bills. However, the amount of energy that we are actually using in our homes is generally decreasing. This is due to more energy-saving measures being introduced, a better awareness of the amount of energy that we are using, and the increase in the use of renewable energy being used.
According to Government data, in 2019, the average energy bill in the UK was £1289 – being £679 for electricity and £610 for gas, which is a rise of almost 3% on the year before.
Is Your Home Energy-Efficient?
The energy efficiency of your home plays a key part in the price of your energy bill. If you are paying to heat your house over and over again as the energy is getting wasted, the price will continue to rise. There are several factors that are included in making a property energy efficient, but the best way to get a good understanding of the energy efficiency of your home is with an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC).
When an EPC assessment is carried out, an assessor will visit the property to inspect the aspects of the building that can have an impact on its energy efficiency. These can include insulation, double glazing, lighting, the condition of your boiler, and any renewable energy that you may be using (such as solar panels).
The EPC will give you an overall energy rating, as well as recommendations on how you can improve your energy rating in the future.
Incidentally, an EPC is also required when a property is sold or when its occupancy changes. This gives new tenants or owners an idea of how high the energy bills are likely to be.
Questions to Ask if your Bill is Too High
If you have received an energy bill and you believe that it could be too high, here are some questions that it would be a good idea to ask yourself:
Are the meter readings accurate?
It may be that your energy provider is basing your energy bills on estimated energy use. This can give inaccurate bills, so check your meter and get in touch with them if you think that your bill should be different. More and more properties are getting smart meters which can be useful in knowing exactly how much you are spending on energy.
What is your energy tariff?
Check the price that you are paying per unit on energy. You can use a price comparison website to compare this rate to other energy providers.
Are you using more energy?
It goes without saying that if you are using more energy, then your prices are likely to go up. Are you using more heating? Do you have more appliances being used, more people in the house, or are you having more lights on more of the time, for example?
How well insulated is the house?
Insulation is the best way to ensure that you are not wasting energy (and money) on heating your property. If you do not already have it, you should consider insulating your loft, wall cavities, perhaps floors, as well as fitting double glazing.
What heating fuel are you using?
The most common form of heating a home is by using gas. This is also one of the most cost-efficient. If, however, you are using more expensive fuels – such as electricity, this can soon show itself in your energy bills. Ground source heat pumps are an eco-friendly option for heating your home, and, although they may be a larger investment now, they can pay you back over time with lower energy bills.
How high is your heating on?
When it comes to heating your home, every degree counts. According to the Energy Saving Trust, turning your heating down inside your house by just one degree can save you around £60 each year. The average thermostat is set at 20°C in the UK, so maybe consider putting on an extra jumper and keeping your temperature level down. You could also think about using a smart thermostat so that your heating is only on where you are in the house when you are in the house.
How to Make Your Home More Energy Efficient
There is plenty that can be done to make your home more energy-efficient. Most of these will be highlighted in an EPC assessment, and these include:
- Ensuring that your home is insulated up to government specs
- Ensuring that your boiler is efficient
- Fitting renewable energy options such as solar panels and wind turbines
- Using low energy lightbulbs
- Turning your heating down and using a smart thermostat
- Using low energy consumption appliances such as fridges and washing machines
- Turning appliances fully off and not just leaving them on standby