Greg Jackson at Octopus Energy offer an Agile Tariff. Contacting customers the day before, his company offered discounts during the next 24 hours in order to spread the load on the National Grid. If all the suppliers were to negotiate in this way, then the country would be using energy in an efficient way.
So we now know that discounted acquisition tariffs are a thing of the past but we are also left with the fact that affordable energy is not possible for everyone. In order to “give up the gas” we are going to have to look at rural homes, off-grid solutions, secondary supplies, insulating older houses and how to protect the country from the global fluctuations in price as Europe moves away from nuclear.
Each household can look at how they plan to heat their homes and the water in the years ahead. A mixture of different systems will probably be best and so, if solar panels are possible, this is well worth investigating along with storage of the energy produced. Also worth considering are heat source pumps and modern storage heaters with flexible controls. Insulation, reducing bills by changing habits, and a better understanding of the utility bills will all help to shrink bills at home and at work. Here are a few tips:-
- Economy 7 Electricity (where a day and a night tariff exists) is only worthwhile if the night units are at least one third of the total usage of electricity.
- A family that uses a lot of electricity and gas, for example with the washing machine on daily and regular use of a dishwasher, will find that a higher standing charge and a lower unit rate is a better tariff.
- If you still have a hot water cylinder make sure that you are not leaving the extra switch on which is a top up switch if you run out of hot water. This behaves like a kettle in that it is constantly keeping the water up to temperature and will give you very high bills.
- Service your gas boiler at least once a year and if it is making strange noises, cutting out, or not heating the radiators properly, then it needs attention. Check the radiators for cool spots as they may have silted up and insulate your home.
- If you have solar panels, investigate storage for your energy. Between the hours of 11 and 2 you have sufficient daylight to be using your own generated power but spread the use so that you don’t put on all the gadgets at the same time.
- Is there anyone not yet using LED lights? If a light bulb produces heat and light it is not LED.
- Do you leave your mobile phone charger plugged in even when you are not using it? If the plug is warm, you are wasting energy and it is not a safe thing to do. Why not charge your phone when you are in the car or on the train if you can.
- My big favourite is a slow cooker for more than casseroles – you can even cook scones in a slow cooker! Because of the way it cooks you can buy cheaper cuts of meat, use up vegetables and create nourishing meals.
- Spend one minute less in the shower or turn off the water while shampooing/conditioning your hair and put it back on to rinse off.
- If you have to empty water from a tumbler drier, what do you do with the water? In the summer it may be to water plants, but in the winter you can put it back into the drawer of the washing machine, especially if it is still tepid in temperature.