Winter is almost here, which means one thing for gas and electricity customers - bigger bills! Here's a quick run-through of some of our favourite tips to help you keep your bills down during those long, cold and dark winter nights.
It’s that time of year again. The clocks have gone back meaning we’re now facing another long and dark winter.
And as the days get ever shorter, concerns around managing energy bills invariably start to arise as we spend more time indoors with the lights on and the heating cranked up. So we decided to have a look at some of the simple ways you can save on your energy costs.
Choose online billing
Most energy suppliers offer online billing and will give you a small discount if you choose not to get your bills in the post. So as well as being good for the environment it's also good for your pocket. But that's not the only selling point...
Online billing is simple, your bills are archived, you can see invaluable information on your energy consumption and usage habits, and you can enter meter readings easily online. And speaking of meter readings...
Don't settle for estimates, provide your own readings
The ESB reads all electricity meters regardless of whether you have Bord Gáis Energy, SSE Airtricity or Electric Ireland as your supplier. The thing is, they'll only come out to read your meter four times a year.
If your meter isn't read or the ESB can't get to it because you're not home, you'll get an estimated bill. It's easy to tell if you're bill has been estimated - it'll have a big "E" after your meter reading. However these estimates are by no means 100% accurate. This is especially true if you've been away or you're using less electricity than you normally would. And if there's one time of the year you don't want to overpay for electricity you haven't used it's winter.
Providing a meter reading to your supplier is easy - you can do it online or over the phone and some providers will send you a reminder text so that you can do it just before your bill is about to issue.
Consider getting a NightSaver meter
If you think you can shift more than 30% of your electricity consumption from the daytime to the middle of the night, a NightSaver tariff is a great way to save money as you'll get a much lower rate for nighttime hours. You'll pay a little more for your daytime unit rates and your standing charge will be a little higher, but if you use more than around a third of your electricity at night you'll rack up the savings.
A few easy ways to shift some usage overnight is to get plug timers for your dishwasher, washing machine and dryer and make sure that your immersion is well insulated and set to heat water overnight. Just those items should shift enough of your usage to the cheap rate to make it worthwhile.
Switch supplier - the quick fix!
The good news is that the quickest and easiest way to save almost €500 on your energy bills this year is to switch supplier. That's because most suppliers offer substantial discounts to new customers signing up, and these discounts last for the duration of your contract, making for some significant savings! Why pay more for gas and electricity when you don’t have to?
Comparing and switching is super easy and free and only takes a few minutes. All you need is your MPRN, your GPRN and a recent meter reading.
Reduce your energy consumption
After switching supplier, the second easiest way to lower your energy bills is to try to reduce your usage. This needn’t be a huge effort or hassle, as there are lots of small everyday changes you can make around the home that will make a decent impact without leaving you sitting in a freezing cold room with the lights off.
Here are 15 of our favourite tips to help you lower your electricity consumption - some might surprise you!
Consider long-term energy efficiency measures
If you’re looking for some longer-term energy efficiency solutions, here are a few good places to start:
- Install a smart home thermostat. These are devices which allow you to control your home’s heating from anywhere in the world using your smartphone. How does this save you money? Well, for example, if you have the ability to turn your heating off remotely, you’ll never have to pay to heat an empty house again!
- Invest in some home efficiency measures. Many of us are turned off from putting money towards things such as decent wall and roof insulation, solar panels and the like because of the prohibitive cost of installation, even though such measures lead to significant long-term savings. The good news is there are both grants and loans out there to remove a lot of the financial burden of these kinds of home improvement investments.
Did we miss anything?
If you've got any top energy-saving tips we might have missed, please let us know in the comments! We'd love to hear from you.