Behavioural changes such as unplugging devices, lowering thermostat temperatures and reducing gas boiler flow rates could drive down spiralling energy bills for struggling households, revealed energy experts.
Justina Miltienyte, head of policy at Uswitch told City A.M the government should be encouraging consumers to adopt new habits to cut down their overall energy use.
She said: “With energy prices being high, the best way to save money is to make sure we use energy as efficiently as possible. The government should do more to raise awareness of energy efficiency measures and address barriers for adoption, especially for the most vulnerable customers.”
This would include measures such as reducing thermostat temperatures by just one degree and turning off electronics overnight.
British Gas reported last month that households could save £147 on their electricity bills every year by switching off ‘vampire devices’ such as like top boxes, televisions and internet routers left on standby.
The consumer price cap spiked a painful 54 per cent last month to nearly £2,000 per year, piling pressure on households which are also struggling with soaring fuel and food prices.
There are growing expectations of a further price cap rise in October, with energy specialist Cornwall Insight warning of a 34 per cent hike to over £2,600 per year, with growing calls across the industry for Chancellor Rishi Sunak to bring in more financial support packages.
Customers cut down bills with energy schemes
Earlier this year during the depths of winter, Ovo Energy was slammed on social media earlier for providing patronising advice to customers, such as telling them to cuddle their pets and do star jumps to cut down energy usage, while EON Energy was criticised for handing out free socks.
However, some energy firms believe there are helpful tips for households that could benefit from government promotion.
Last year, Utilita Energy boss Bill Bullen submitted a white paper to the department for business, energy and industrial strategy, suggesting households could save as much as a fifth on their bills through energy efficiency measures.
Meanwhile, Octopus Energy – which has recently doubled its financial assistance fund to £5m – embarked on a collective energy programme last winter with its customers, to help them cut prices.
An Octopus spokesperson explained: “We’ve found that another way of helping our customers through this crisis is by empowering them to use less energy. Over the course of the winter, we ran an energy efficiency scheme called Winter Workout, offering customers useful tips to save on their gas usage without compromising on comfort.”
More than 220,000 customers took part in the 12-week challenge and over two thirds managed to reduce their gas consumption by 12 per cent on average.
Collectively, customers’ gas reductions saved £4.8m from their energy bills and prevented 22m kg of carbon dioxide from going into the atmosphere.
The most popular energy-saving tip, which was used by 114,000 customers and received a customer approval rating of 94 per cent, was that a lower gas boiler flow rate could significantly reduce gas usage.
Tips such as these can also be helpful for businesses, which do not have the protections of a price cap and have beared the brunt of huge price increases in raw materials, manufacturing and shipping.
eEnergy, the business energy services providers, which works with thousands of commercial enterprises across the UK, revealed a significant number are wasting more than 30 per cent of the energy they purchase.
An eEnergy spokesperson said: “We believe the best way for businesses to become more energy efficient is the correct application of technology and solutions and the implementation and maintenance of the right behaviours across the workplace.”
“Things such as thermostats, insulation and heat pumps can play a role in reducing energy waste alongside well established technologies such as LED lighting and building controls. However, the starting point for any business looking to become more energy efficient is to understand when and where they are wasting energy.”