If you are a UK resident you may be hoping for a mild winter, not least because the season has been plagued with problems resulting from flooding, ice and snow over the past few years. Another concern for residents of the oft-chilly region is the increasing cost of electricity and gas.
Next week, on October 15th, the second biggest energy supplier in the UK, SSE, will raise the price of their domestic gas and electricity by nine per cent. In real terms this is expected to create an add-on cost of £119 for the average dual customer. Energy supply in the UK is led by six big names and the other industry-dominating suppliers are widely expected to follow this increase with announcements of their own in the months that follow. However, one – E.on - has pledged not to raise their prices before the year is out.
Whether the weather be fine, or whether the weather be not, those looking to reduce their winter fuel bill will have to take action now. One solution is to seek out a cheaper supplier, which can be investigated using the uSWitch website. However, finding a cheaper supplier will not reduce the impact of your household consumption on the environment; the only way to do this is through introducing energy efficiency measures.
Larger jobs such as fitting loft and cavity wall insulation or double glazing can make a significant impact on energy use in the home but need to be carried out sooner rather than later. There are a number of schemes that offer financial help to those carrying out this sort of work, so before you get the work done, check out if you could qualify for some help here. Checking the efficiency of your boiler should also be a priority. Boilers are thought to account for around 60 per cent of domestic energy use, so if yours is not in good working order, you could find yourself over-consuming – or worse - without a working system! For information about boiler ratings in the UK and how much upgrading could save you, see here.
Finally, don’t forget about the little things that can help you curb your use. Ensuring pipes are insulated and radiators are bled and cleaned before a serious cold spell arrives will keep you cosy and lower your costs and environmental impact.
Fay Nyberg is a journalist and blogger who regularly writes on business, environmental and finance issues. She also occasionally writes on behalf of Anglian Home Improvements.