I don't know how I am going to afford my bills after the price increase... advice to save £

I would be grateful for any advice to help me reduce future electricity bills now that they are supposed to be increasing by 54%.
From 01/05/21 to 01/02/22 (10 months) my usage was £530 (so on average £53/mth and this includes the last increase) and if the next increase is 54% then it will be £82/mth. I can not afford this as I am on benefits and my bills already take up 60% of my money each month (and I don’t have any luxuries like Sky/Virgin TV, Fibre b/band, large TV etc)
I live in a 2 bed flat and I :-

  • Use 1 heater (out of 5) and that is only on from 9pm to 8am (with cheap rates for most of those hours) and on its lowest setting
  • Shower once a week
  • Use washing machine once every 4 weeks
  • Use my oven maybe 2 hrs a week
  • Turn lights off when not in use
  • Watch TV for 4hrs on an evening
  • Turn on water heater for 1hr each week

I don’t use excessively as there is only me in my flat. I am out of ideas on how to further cut my usage so any help and advice would be greatly appreciated.
Thank you kindly x

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Based on your outline, it doesn’t seem like there’s going to be much scope for further reductions, as it sounds like you’re being pretty frugal already.

But let’s see if I can give you some ideas anyway…

You mention cheap rates - are you on Economy 7? If so, have you checked that it is worthwhile? ie are you using enough at night to compensate for the higher day rate - as a rough guide, that’s at least 30% on the cheap rate - the formula to work out the exact figure for your tariff is (E7 day rate - standard rate ) / (E7 day rate - E7 night rate) [×100 to make it a %].

Assuming you are on E7, are you setting your washing machine to run overnight? And what temperature do you set it at? (current advice is to wash at 30C [or even less] rather than anything higher)

What sort of light bulbs/fittings do you have? Are they old-school incandescent [/filament], or the more modern CFL or LED? If it’s mostly the former, you want to try and gradually replace them with the latter as and when you can. LED bulbs do cost a bit more to buy, but they use way less electricity than filament bulbs (think in the order of 80% less). If you have halogen or fluorescent bulbs, there are LED equivalents for those too.

Have you looked into whether you qualify for the Warm Home Discount (worth £140)? If you might, I think there’s still time to apply for this year if you’re quick.

Any draughts from ill-fitting windows or doors or even your letterbox that can be cheaply remedied? (to help make the most of your heating)

And there’s also the ECO scheme which aims to help fund energy-saving improvements to your home (so as to reduce your consumption & thereby your bills) that may be worth investigating.

I hope these have been helpful, even if they just help you think of something that hadn’t occurred to you before. Good luck!

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Thank you @stevefoster :+1:
Yes, I’m on Economy 7 and the only time it is in use is for the heating as I don’t trust using my washing machine overnight. And when I do use my washing machine it is at 40°C on economy/quick wash.
I have energy saving light bulbs in my hallway and LED bulbs in all other light fittings. I have an open plan kitchen/front room which each have a 4 bulb light fitting but each only has 2 bulbs fitted (anything less the rooms are too dim). These are the lights that are used the most often this time of year.
And yes, I qualify for the WHD and have applied and received the bonus this year and previous years which does help but unfortunately not enough.
I do have juliet balcony doors that are poorly fitted but I have enforced the seals with self adhesive draught exclusion tape so they are no longer a problem. All other windows are good and my letter box is not close to my main living area so not a problem.
As I rent through a Housing Association I am dependant on them with regards to improvements and they are not very forthcoming with helping i.e. the electric heaters are now 16yrs old and very inefficient :frowning_face:
You have been very helpful with your advice and it is very much appreciated :hugs:
x x x

I would suggest you apply for the ECO scheme - renting is apparently not an obstacle, and maybe the HA will be more helpful if you’re able to get some external funding towards replacing those heaters. (or maybe it will shame them into acting!)

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When you say ‘heater’ do you mean night storage heater?
Even with Economy 7 it seems illogical to be heating the flat when you least need to, i.e. when you’re asleep.
I have a Dimplex Cheriton heater with LED bulbs (for flicker effect) and gas central heating. I only now switch the GCH on when it’s really cold, for about 20 minutes in the morning and when I take a bath. Otherwise, I sit near the electric heater and, if necessary, clutch a hot water bottle and, if that is not enough, I wrap myself in a blanket, too.
The heater is not cheap-cheap to run but, used sparingly, it’s not super expensive, either. Also, I live in a cottage and, cottages being typically prone to damp/condensation, I regularly run a dehumidifier which helps keep the cottage warm because it dries the air (and that is cheap to run). That’s probably all your heater is doing for you if it’s only on the lowest setting, you need something to really warm up the area you sit in the most.
I really suggest you switch off the NSH and invest in an LED bulb type electric heater. And perhaps switch to a tariff that doesn’t mean you feel you can only run things at night.
Hope this helps. :slight_smile:

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Thanks @stevefoster I will look into that :grinning: :+1:
Hi @metermaid, Yes I have storage heaters and I do run them at night not only because it is cheaper but it is also needed to keep the room warm as I have 2 Fids (feathered kids :bird: :bird: :grin:) and if they got too cold they could die and they are the only companionship I have. If I didn’t have them then yes I’m sure I could get by with extra layers and only putting the heating on when it got really cold and which I do on occasion during the day as well but only if it’s really bitter outside (it’s not often needed during the daytime as the room does keep warm enough).
As far as the tariff I am on I am assuming that Bulb has me on the best one for my usage?!?!? :thinking:
Thank you kindly both of you for your help :sparkling_heart: :sparkling_heart:

Hi December angel , To save money you could put your T.V on energy saving mode which is on the tv setting if your tv is not that old . The picture quality may be reduced a bit but , it will save some electric . Most tv sets are rated energy F . That’s rubbish on an energy scale . Also , put you fridge on a timer at night to turned it off for 4 to 6 hours at night . That’s stops it using electric at night and stops it freezing up the ice box . I have done it to mine and the fridge works better for it . The timers are cheap to buy . Any 3 pin plug with the timer will do the job . An old kettle takes longer to boil . If you can get a new kettle . My old one just broke and the new kettle works better and is quicker to boil . If you can , buy food from a farm shop in your local area . Or see if there is a farm near you that can deliver vegetables that they grow and deliver direct to your door . Local delivery will be free . It’s cheaper than the big shops . Do a search online for a local farm shop with delivers to your area . A box of vegetables from a local farm shop in my area is £20 pound and delivery is free . Honestly it’s a lot cheaper than the bigger shops . I am in the same boats as you . Honestly , I am worried like you about gas and electric bills . That’s why I am going to farm shops because is as cheap as I can buy vegetables . If I can think of anything else I will come back and write to you . Good luck . :+1:

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Hi @Plugsocket123 :slightly_smiling_face:
All of my appliances are set to the most energy saving setting as that is the 1st thing I do i.e. TV to energy saving mode and Fridge/Freezer to Eco mode. Yes, I do need to purchase a few new electrical items e.g. Kettle, that would be better economically BUT like anything else I own… until it gives up the ghost… :neutral_face:
I would love to shop at places like Farm shops that support local enterprises but I don’t spend enough on the produce to do that. Because I can’t cook and rely on ‘quick and easy’ food/meals I shop at the most economical places i.e. Aldi/Lidl.
Thank you kindly for your advice it was very much appreciated :+1: :smiling_face_with_three_hearts:

The general principle when it comes to energy saving is to focus on HEAT. Everything else pretty much pales into insignificance.
An LED light bulb will use 4-5 watts, but an electric heater can use 1,000-2,000 watts. It really helps to keep these numbers in mind, because you should literally put 200 times as much effort into draught-proofing and insulating than you do fussing with light bulbs.

An electric heater that old might be pretty inefficient, and if you could replace it you might notice a difference.
I’ve always thought that electric fan heaters are better than radiators, because they can actually project heat around the room before it rises.

In terms of heat, make sure curtains are closed at night to keep heat in (makes a surprising difference). If you heat one room, make sure you have something as a draught-excluder at the bottom of the door.

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Hi december angel , Its difficult when money’s tight especially as energy bills go up even more . You say you cart cook . You can learn to cook watching youtube . I learn a lot from youtube . Its a great source for advice for cooking food and health advice . Its brilliant and cost nothing . You can join a cashback scheme like quid co online . Its free to join . Its pays you cash back when you spend money online and you get discounts or vouchers . I use it for renewing my internet contract . You can get up to £120 reward for changing internet provider when your contract is up . Or renewing home insurance . As food prices go up in the big shops or selves are empty a farm shop is the next source for good food at a lower price . Believe me food shortages are coming so a farm shop is a good alternative . There are 2 sorts of farm shop . One that you buy directly in the shop . The other is a supplier that delivers directly to your door in your local area and has grown the food in there own large greenhouse or land . That is the one you need . A large box of vegatables could last could last you 3 weeks or more . Just do a local search and see what comes up in your local areas . Even just for interest for you to have an alternative food supply . Food prices are going up 5% in spring just to let you know . On martin lewis website the money saving website there is an food company that supply food delivered to your door . The food is best date past but , still in date its has really low priced foods and they have a massive range on line to buy from . They save food from being thrown away. Have a look at his website . Its very good for people who are on low incomes like us . His website also has a website that you can check your benefits income to make sure you are getting everything you are claiming for is correct . I think one of them is turn 2 us website . His website is a great source of information on how to save money on everything you need to live day by day . Put martin lewis money saving website in to your computer and take a look at his website and see how you can gain extra voucher or money to help you get by . Even if you can reduce your food bill a little by using cashback on food shopping or voucher of food for next shopping . Qiud co is also on his website . I use all these tips myself just to get by myself so i hope it helps you out even just a little bit . We pay a lot of money out to have use the internet at home so you should use use it to make money back to relieve some of the stress of being on a low income . Please take a look at my tips to and see if it help you out . Good luck .:+1:

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