Eight energy checks you need to make NOW before big change to bills in days to avoid paying more | The Sun

MILLIONS of households should perform eight vital energy checks now before a big change to bills.

Later this week on October 1, the government's energy price cap, which limits the typical domestic energy bill, will fall to £1,923 a year.

The reduction in Ofgem's price cap means that a typical household will see their bills drop by £151 a year.

The price cap works by setting a limit on the maximum amount suppliers can charge for each unit of gas and electricity.

It's not a cap on how much you can be charged for the energy that you use – so if you use more, expect to pay more.

That's why it's important to perform some checks before this change to ensure that you're not paying over the odds.

Read more in money

SAVVY SAVER

I've made £6K from my sofa in my spare time – anyone can do it and it

BILL CHECK

Warning for millions to take energy meter reading NOW ahead of price cap change

Here's everything you should be doing now to prep for this, according to energy experts at comparison site Uswitch.

1. Take a meter reading

Energy suppliers usually require you to take regular meter readings from your gas and electricity meter to work out how much they should charge you.

Customers who don't do this are billed on estimated usage and will likely pay more.

So if you don't have a smart meter, ensure that you regularly submit meter readings to your supplier.

Most read in Money

BAGUETTE STUFFED!

Major chain sparks fury by charging £7.15 for ‘UK’s worst baguette’

IT’S NOT JUST ANY XMAS

Inside Marks and Spencer’s Christmas menu as orders open in HOURS

CHOC SHOCK

Choc fans are only just realising an iconic bar is missing from the shelves

HOUSE WARMING

Six cheap gadgets to avoid putting the heating on this winter

Those with smart meters don't need to send a manual reading because they're sent to suppliers automatically.

Submitting a meter reading just before the rates change will ensure you're charged the correct amount for the energy you've used. 

We've previously explained how to take a reading from different types of electricity and gas meters.

2. Check your direct debit

If you pay your energy bill by direct debit, this monthly amount should be "fair and reasonable".

If you don't think it is, you should complain directly to your supplier in the first instance.

If you're not happy with the outcome you can take it to the independent Energy Ombudsman to dispute, but there are a few steps before you get to that stage.

Your supplier must clearly explain why it's chosen that amount for your direct debit.

If you've got credit on your account, you have every right to get it back – although some experts recommend keeping it there through the summer, so your bills don't go up in the winter when you use more energy.

Your supplier must refund you or explain exactly why not otherwise and the regulator, Ofgem, can fine suppliers if they don't.

If you are disputing a bill, taking a meter reading is a must.

If it's lower than your estimate, you can ask your provider to lower your monthly direct debit to a more suitable amount.

But beware so you don’t end up in debt later on with a bigger catch-up bill at the end of the year from underpayments racking up.

If you don't have success in negotiating a lower payment then you can put in a complaint to the Energy Ombudsman.

3. Check for any new energy deals

There are currently fixed deals on offer that are priced close to or slightly higher than standard variable tariffs, but they offer peace of mind that your rates will not change for 12 months.

But you could end up being stuck paying more if prices fall in future so it's important to assess the real value of these offers.

Run a comparison at Uswitch.com to see personalised options based on your usage and region.

The regulator used to set the price cap every six months, but since August last year, it now reviews the cap on unit rates for those on the default tariff every three months.

This means that annual energy bills may drop further into 2024 when the next price cap comes into force in January.

4. Check if you qualify for support

Households should check whether they qualify for energy support schemes or grants.

The government runs the Warm Home Discount scheme, which provides £150 in energy credit to help with bills during the winter and has recently introduced the Great British Insulation Scheme.

Councils also offer the Household Support Fund.

Many suppliers have customer support funds offering home insulation, energy-efficient white goods and cash grants.

Here's a list of schemes open right now:

  • British Gas Energy Trust Individuals and Family Fund
  • British Gas Energy Trust
  • EDF Customer Support Fund
  • E.ON and E.ON Next Grants
  • Octopus Energy Assist Fund
  • OVO Energy
  • Scottish Power Hardship Fund

5. Change your thermostat and boiler settings.

Check the temperature on your thermostat and adjust it if required.

The World Health Organisation suggests most healthy people should heat their homes to 18 degrees Celsius.

Reducing the flow rate on combination boilers to around 60 degrees Celsius can cut heating bills, and you won't notice the difference. 

It should save you around £112 per year, depending on the type of boiler you have.

6. Change your radiator settings.

Get ahead of the first cold spell by checking if your radiators are up to scratch.

Bleeding your radiators will prevent cold spots, and you may want to consider turning radiator valves down – or off – in the rooms you use less often.

The average household can also save up to £75 every year if they have thermostatic radiator valves fitted on all their radiators, according to British Gas.

Valves can be picked up for less than £10 and they're easy to replace yourself if some of yours are not working.

We've previously explained what the numbers on these valves mean and how to adjust them for optimum efficiency.

It's also important to keep your radiators free from obstructions, like furniture, for maximum heat.

7. Change the way you use your appliances.

Tracking your usage may help you see how changing some habits can make a difference in your home.

Whether that's setting your wash cycle at a lower temperature or eco mode, ditching the tumble dryer, or running the dishwasher only with a full load, small changes may have a big impact on your next meter reading.

For example, Which? says that washing clothes at 30°C is generally fine for clothes that aren't dirty – this could cut energy use by 38% on average compared to a 40°C wash.

And a 20°C wash will use 62% less energy.

Here are some ways to cut dishwasher costs too.

8. Check for draughts

Draught-proofing is a quick and cost-effective way to prevent heat escaping, which could save you around £50 a year.

Fitting door seals between doors and frames, attaching brushes under draughty external doors and using chimney balloons all keep the heat in.

READ MORE SUN STORIES

WOWIE

Dramatic Towie body transformations – from 14st weight loss to unrecognisable star

ROAM FREE

Most affordable European city break revealed – with £1.60 beersand £16 flights

Thermal and lined curtains also prevent heat loss.

Check out seven ways you can instantly draught-proof your house this winter.

Source: Read Full Article