How to protect your budget from the energy price crisis

Gas price rises have soared thanks to rocketing demand for the fossil fuel as the global economy gets going again.

It is something of a perfect storm for households as the government’s energy price cap is rising too. It now stands at £1,277 and is predicted to rise again next April to above £1,600, thanks to mounting wholesale prices.

The issue it has created for the UK is that many firms in the energy market rely on low prices to offer better deals to households than the ‘big’ firms.

But this has led to a lot of companies collapsing as energy prices rise. The upshot of this is that consumer choice in the market has been totally wiped out. Price comparison services such as uSwitch have even suspended their energy price comparison services as a result.

So, what can you do to keep a handle on your energy bills with such issues at hand?

Still try and switch

If you weren’t already on a cheap deal, you could still find a provider that will offer you a better price than the energy price cap currently stipulates.

Firms such as Octopus Energy, E.On and others still offer lower prices although you may not be able to find them on price comparison sites at the moment. It is worth researching and getting quotes from as many companies as you can.

Improve your home’s efficiency

Improving energy efficiency of your home can range from minor tweaks to big projects, but there are some ways to go about it – especially if you live in an older property. For starters, excluding any kind of draft and keeping doors inside closed will retain more heat in rooms.

Other ideas, which may seem more wacky but are in fact quite effective, include getting radiator foil which reflects heat from your radiators back into the house.

Smart plugs and timers strategically placed in the house can also be a good way to save energy, especially if you forgot to turn the TV off at the socket before bed.

Other higher investment and more long-term efficient solutions include getting brand new roof and wall insulation installed. This can cost thousands but will be recouped as your bills come down over time.

Finally, installing new eco-friendly biomass boilers or solar panels have a high upfront cost, but could in time pay you for putting energy back into the grid. According to Renewable Energy Hub such equipment could save you up to £2,000 a year in energy bills.

Turn down the thermostat

Ultimately the ‘price’ you are quoted is only ever an estimation by the energy company of what they think you will use.

If you live in a three-bed house and they estimate you’ll use £1,500 of energy per year, it doesn’t mean you’ll actually use that amount. The one sure-fire way to pay less for your energy bills is to simply use less energy! This means turning down the thermostat, putting on a jumper and slippers and having a hot water bottle in bed at night.

Although it is not advisable to slash your energy usage in mid-winter, especially if you’re older or have any health conditions, finding ways to cut down on overall energy usage can have miraculous effects on your bills.

Minor changes such as turning off electric appliances you’re not using at the wall socket, cutting down on tumble dryer cycles, and switching to energy efficient lightbulbs will have a significant impact on your bills in the end.