Woman checking energy bills

Why is my energy bill so high?

author: Sarah Beresford

By Sarah Beresford

Taking time to understand your energy use will result in cheaper bills. Find out what appliances could be draining energy and how you could reduce your overall energy bill.

Have you noticed that your energy seems to be costing you more each month? If you think you’re paying too much for your gas and electricity there are various things you can do to save on your energy bill. 

Why was my energy bill so high during lockdown? 

Lots of people saw their energy bills increase over lockdown and may not understand why. It’s simply down to the fact that you use more energy when you’re at home. Whether that’s having the heating on more, watching television for longer, or using the oven more than usual. Everyday things you might not even consider will all cause your energy bill to go up. 

What is the average UK electricity bill? 

In 2020 the average standard electricity bill was £707 a year. Dual fuel tariffs can sometimes be cheaper, but not always. According to OFGEM, the average dual fuel tariff as of August 2021, was £1,138 a year. 

5 reasons why your energy bill may be higher than it was before 

Even if you’re happy with your tariff there are common causes of an increase in energy bills. 

1) You’re using more 

We’ve discussed how you’ll use more energy when you’re at home more, but what other reasons might there be for your energy use increase? You’ll use more energy as the weather gets colder - you’ll be turning the heating up for longer, and having cosy nights in with the television on. Other reasons you could be using more energy include: 

  • you’ve had a new baby and want to keep the house warm 
  • you’re now working from home 
  • there are more appliances in your home including mobile devices. 

2) Your meter reading was wrong 

Unless you’ve got a smart meter, you might be sending manual readings to your energy supplier each month. Make sure you read the meter correctly, it can be easy to note it down wrong. 

3) You’re on an estimated bill 

If the supplier doesn’t have a meter reading they’ll send you an estimated bill. This will be based on past consumption, and if they base it on the winter months, or on when you had more people living in your home, then the bill will be higher than you expect. 

You don’t have to pay an estimated bill - contact your supplier with a meter reading and they’ll send you a new bill. 

4) You have too many appliances in use 

Are you using too many appliances or leaving them plugged in when they’re not in use? Remember to switch the television off when you leave the room, turn lights off in empty rooms, and unplug mobile device chargers. Even if they’re not charging anything, leaving them plugged in and switched on still uses a small amount of electricity. 

5) You’ve started on a new tariff 

If you switched to a new tariff you were probably put onto a good deal to entice you in. Unfortunately, these deals don’t last forever. If you’ve come to the end of your fixed price period then you’ll be put onto the default variable rate tariff, which could explain an increase in your energy bills. 

5 ways to save on energy bills 

You might not be able to save a large amount on your energy bills overnight but making some changes will get you cheaper energy bills each month.  

1) Turn off stand-by appliances 

Don’t let so-called 'vampire appliances' drain your energy. Vampire appliances are those that are left in standby mode. Standby mode doesn’t turn the appliance off completely so it’s constantly using power. Switch the plug off at the mains or unplug it completely. You could save up to £35 a year by doing this. Vampire appliances include: 

  • mobile device chargers 
  • televisions 
  • computers 
  • games consoles
  • microwaves

2) Invest in double glazing 

Houses without double glazing are colder than those with, so you’ll be using the heating more. The investment in double glazing may take several years to pay for itself in saved heating bills, but consider that you’ll be adding value to your home and reducing condensation problems. 

3) Insulate your roof 

If your roof isn’t insulated then heat will be escaping through it resulting in a colder house. Roof insulation costs between £400 and £600 but could save you around £250 a year. Even if you’ve got roof insulation it would be worth thinking about adding to it, as the savings pay for themselves within a couple of years. 

4) Do big washing loads instead of daily little ones 

Every time you put the washing machine on, you’re using electricity, as well as water. If you tend to put a daily wash on, try and reduce the number of times you wash your clothes by waiting until you’ve got enough to fill the tub up by three quarters. Any more than this and the washing efficiency will be reduced. 

5) Switch energy suppliers 

When you switch to a new energy supplier you’ll usually be put on a cheaper tariff. This is the incentive to get you to join. But at the end of the incentive, there’s no reason you can’t switch suppliers again to keep getting cheap energy bills.  

Find out how often you can switch energy suppliers, or if you need help with energy bills find out if you’re eligible for grants or benefits. 

 

Disclaimer: All information and links are correct at the time of publishing.

author: Sarah Beresford

By Sarah Beresford

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