Adding to pandemic restriction misery, homeowners and consumers are now being met with a hike in energy prices.
Whilst it may seem almost unavoidable, Keith Bastian, CEO and founder of Outfox the Market, a renewable energy supplier, explains how homeowners can keep costs down without the need to sacrifice their usage.
I understand why homeowners and consumers are finding themselves in a position where they feel trapped when it comes to paying an increased premium for their energy. On paper, it makes sense for bills to be higher, but that doesn’t mean they have to be.
Over the course of the coronavirus pandemic, a substantial portion of the UK has been met with numerous restrictions. Many of which has meant that people have had to adapt to both home working and home schooling, putting more pressure on the utilities grid.
At the beginning of the first lockdown, home energy use was up by 30% and with more people continuing to work from home, I expect this to have increased even further.
It hasn’t helped that the third national lockdown happened in the midst of winter, when naturally, more energy is used anyway.
On top of this, children were unable to attend school up until very recently, so not only were more people at home during the day as opposed to just evenings and weekends, but more heating and electricity was being used too.
If previously, off-peak tariffs like Economy-7 suited your circumstances while you were at work, you’re probably paying the price now, with energy costs at their highest during the day.
With parents working from home and children having to partake in online classes, combined with the need to keep them entertained during none-schooling hours, it is no surprise that there has been such a rise in energy consumption nationwide.
However, homeowners shouldn’t be paying more than they need to - and that’s the key.
As of April 1, energy regulator Ofgem’s price cap for credit meter standard variable tariffs will jump by almost £100 a year. With almost 60% of households still on such tariffs, it will impact the majority of homeowners.
This price hike, combined with an increase in energy consumption, means that many consumers will be left with a rather hefty bill.
As with the cost of living, we always anticipate energy prices to rise, but that doesn’t mean that consumers are left powerless in their means to save money.
By simply logging into an online account or picking up the phone, there are often a number of easy changes that can made in a matter of seconds to adjust costs and keep them in line with your budget.
Since the introduction of smart metering, it has been really easy for both consumer and supplier to monitor usage in real time, allowing direct debit payments to be adjusted almost on the fly. Of course, there still needs to be a period of assessment for suppliers to work out ‘regular usage’, however this can be as simple as a week-by-week comparison.
Although ‘fixed’ contracts sound daunting, they actually act as a shield to the kind of regulated cost increases coming into effect via Ofgem.
Then there are the everyday changes you could make outside of tariffs and rates, which are not sacrifices but just common sense. Unplug that microwave you’ve not used for three weeks. The TV lying still but on standby in the spare bedroom? Switch it off completely. Make small changes to enable a bigger saving impact on your bills.
Of course, if you are still not happy with the cost being outlined, before committing, you can always scan over your options via a quick and easy quote online with your preferred supplier. A lot of the independent suppliers not only boast excellent customer ratings and value for money scores, but they also come with the added bonus of providing you with clean, sustainable renewable energy to boot.
Just as you would with your home or car insurance, shop around on a yearly basis. Sticking with your current energy provider isn’t always easier, or smarter. In fact, it is usually much more costly.