Super Smart Energy Savers
Our research has shown that over half of us have changed our energy habits since the first price cap increase in April 2022. Some of us are even planning to keep monitoring them as well. That's why we’ve worked with Dominic Littlewood and Helen Skelten to help you take control of your energy use and household budgets.
With the help of Dominic Littlewood, we've created a mini-series title ‘What’s Watt’. In the series, Dom visits real-life households and helps them get their energy costs down.
In the first episode of ‘What’s Watt’ below, Dominic Littlewood visits three families in Wales, Scotland and England and shows them how they could save money and energy in their homes.
I'm Dominic Littlewood, and I'm here on behalf of Smart Energy GB to help families in Great Britain make positive changes to their energy habits. So, let's do it!
Dominic: How have your bills changed since the energy crisis?
They've jumped up significantly. Both of us have had to take on second jobs. Our bills have trebled. We came from two houses into one and we paid three times as much.
Dominic: How much would you say you've used so far today?
Dominic: It's actually £1.40. It might not seem like a lot, but that is 40% more than what you thought you'd used.
Dominic: About one fifth of the average household's heating bills is heating water. So, if you get a water efficient shower head, you could save some money there.
Dominic: If the fridge doors and freezer doors aren't shut properly, or the seals aren't working, they're working a lot harder to try and keep the food cool. So, check the seals on those.
Dominic: In your other room, you've got a settee push right up against the radiator. In the winter, you need to pull that away and let the heat out. The kids’ bedrooms have got lights and you leave those on basically all night long, don't you? Get yourself some timer switches. Once the kids are asleep you don't need the lights on anymore.
That's a good idea, good one.
Dominic: This is your meter cupboard, yeah? How often are you sending readings in? Well, it could be like every three months.
Dominic: If you've got a smart meter, the readings are going to be sent in automatically and you'll have an in-home display unit, so you can see in near-real time exactly what is being used in pounds and pence. I'd imagine you'd find that very useful in your case, yeah?
Dominic: All you've got to do is contact your energy supplier to get the ball running.
Brilliant sounds like a good idea.
Dominic: Well Dom and Charlene, I've got to say it's been an absolute pleasure.
Dominic: Hopefully at the end of today you'll be able to manage your bills a little bit better. They're all simple things that will help us improve.
In episode two of ‘What’s Watt’, Dom returns to chat with the families and finds out how much they’re been able to change their energy habits by using his energy-saving tips:
Dom Littlewood: I’m Dominic Littlewood, and today I’m catching up with two families I met earlier in the year: the Lijertwoods and the Mathesons, to see if my energy saving tips helped them change their habits around the home.
So let’s grab a cuppa and a catch up.
Do you know, it’s so lovely to see you all again. Of course, you haven’t met. Meet Jane from Edinburgh, and Dom and Charlene from Cardiff.
Dom: Nice to meet you, Jane.
Jane: You too.
Dominic Littlewood: Since I last saw you, I’m hoping things have changed because I left with a few little energy saving tips. How are you guys getting on? I remember those drafty doors you had.
Charlene: Yeah, we’ve managed to get ourselves a nice big cosy rug. So, we’ve put that by the patio doors so it feels warmer and cosier, doesn’t it? Especially when you’ve got those curtains closed.
Dominic Littlewood: Jane, I’ve got to come to you. So, tell me some of your changes around the house.
Jane: We’ve been practicing ‘heat the person and not the home.’ If you’re cold, go and put a jumper on. Get a blanket.
Dominic Littlewood: Good idea!
Jane: …put some jogging bottoms on…
Dominic Littlewood: Yeah.
Jane: … and getting the kids to shut doors. Getting John to shut doors. Getting people to shut curtains, blinds.
Dominic Littlewood: Do you think your bills have come down much?
Dom: Yes, I think we probably come down at the moment about 10% to 15%.
Jane: We’re down from £6.85 a day, down to between £2 and £3. So, it’s massive.
Dominic Littlewood: Yeah. Okay. So, it’s all good stuff. What else have you done?
Jane: We’ve been cooking once a day. Anything that we think we’re going to eat that day. Cook it while the oven’s on and then heat it up later in the microwave.
Dominica Littlewood, Ah okay, batch cooking for the day?
Jane: Yeah, just for the day.
Dom: All the thermostats now have now been turned down to 3, and the boiler is now in economy mode.
Charlene: And we’ve seen a difference on the smart meter as well.
Dominic Littlewood: Dom has the smart meter’s in-home display hidden outside, didn’t he?
Dom: We’ve now got it on display underneath the television, which means that not only can we keep an eye on things, but the kids can actually watch it go around and let us know how much we’re spending.
Jane: It’s becoming a competition now to see who can be most environmentally friendly.
Dominic Littlewood: Yeah, not only can you see what you’re using, but your meter readings are being sent in automatically. So you haven’t got to worry about remembering to do it. You know when you get your bills through, they’re going to be accurate, I mean, it’s a nice feeling isin’t it? No nasty shocks.
Dom: Yeah, definitely. And it makes it easy for you to budget with everything else because the price of everything has gone up as well as energy.
Dominic Littlewood: And of course, and you know in the depths of the winter, you know, those increases are going to be, you know, obviously a lot, lot greater.
I’d like to say, Jane, Charlene, Dom, it’s been really, really nice catching up with you guys again and seeing how well you’ve embraced all the little hints and tips and you introduce some of your own and you’re all saving money. And of course, you’ve also got you in-home displays out the cupboard, and you’re actually using that now to its full advantage.
We’ve got you a bus fare home because it’s a lot cheaper than the train. I hope that’s okay. Scotland. Wales.
Dom: As long as we’re not hitchhiking back again.
Dominic Littlewood: We saved a fortune, trust me.
On top of this, we've teamed up with well-known consumer champions Helen Skelton and Dominic Littlewood to launch the third edition of the Super Smart Energy Savers campaign. Joining them is Victoria Bacon, Director at Smart Energy GB, and personal finance expert Vicky Parry from Money Magpie.
Together, we have written the Super Smart Energy Savers Report. This report provides tips and advice on energy management, as well as, identifying some of the myths about how to use less energy.
Click the link below to download the Super Smart Energy Savers Report:
What is the energy price guarantee?
On September 8th 2022, the UK Government announced the Energy Price Guarantee, or EPG. This replaced the energy price cap, and will discount the cost of gas and electricity for energy consumers and will apply to all households in Great Britain.
Under the EPG, a typical household will pay no more than £2500 per year for their energy. The government has announced that the EPG will run in its present form until April 2023.
In his autumn statement on 17th November 2022, the chancellor announced that the EPG will be extended from April 2023 to end of March 2024, but at a revised rate meaning a typical household will pay no more than £3000 per year.
It’s important to note that the Energy Price Guarantee doesn’t limit the total amount you’ll spend on energy.
This means that you will still pay for the gas and electricity that you use but the government’s Energy Price Guarantee will limit the price that suppliers can charge for each unit of energy.
The more energy you use the more you’ll spend.
Because of the relatively high cost of energy, most of us have changed the way we use energy in an attempt to reduce our energy bills. You can find out how the Energy Price Guarantee could affect your bills by contacting your energy supplier.
What can you do to help keep control of your energy bills?
It can be difficult to know what changes you can make in your home to help keep your energy use in control. Some changes have a bigger impact than others. Getting a smart meter could help you find out those changes, and make you more confident about your energy bills by providing accurate meter readings and avoiding estimated bills.
In fact, our research has shown that households with smart meters are more confident that they can afford their energy bills this winter than those without one.
The Super Smart Energy Savers report highlights advice which could help you reduce the energy use in your home.
Insulate your floors
Insulating your floors is an efficient way to retain heat in your home. This can be done by carpeting a room or even just adding a rug to a highly used area.
Go with the flow
The temperature that your boiler heats the water used in your radiators to is called the flow temperature. This is often set between 60°C-80°C, which can be higher than necessary.
Nesta, the innovation charity, has conducted research to show that if you have a combi boiler, dialling down this flow temperature to 60°C or below helps the boiler work more efficiently and could save the average household around £112 a year.
It takes just five minutes to make the change. Nesta have launched a free online tool to help you see if you have the right kind of boiler, and if you have, how to make the change. Find out more on their website.
Keep the heat
Simple draughtproofing measures could help stop heat being carried away. Examples are:
- Insulation strips around windows and doors, available for a few pounds from most DIY shops
- Making sure your letter box shuts securely could help stop heat being carried away.
These changes could help make your heating system more efficient.
Microwaves and slow cookers can be much more efficient at cooking certain foods than an oven. For those spending more time at home during the winter, the savings could add up.
Check the packaging or search online to see if your food could be heated in a more efficient way.
Get a smart meter
Smart meters provide accurate monthly bills, rather than estimates, which help you make sure you're only paying for the energy you use. They also come with an in-home display that shows exactly how much energy is being used in near-real time and in pounds and pence. This gives you more control over your energy use. If you’re trying to limit your energy use to keep bills down, knowing how much you are using (and what you’re spending) can be a huge help. And they’re available at no extra cost from your energy supplier.
If you’re interested, simply type your energy supplier in the box below:
You may also be interested in...
- Ultimate energy saving tips - check out our energy saving tips to see how you can save energy.
- How smart meters could help prepay customers save money- find out how smart meters could help you if you’re on prepay mode.
- Energy saving tips in the kitchen - find out about some energy saving tips in the kitchen that may help you reduce energy consumption.