Bad Gas

Covered mag, presented by
  • | by Kristian Dando

If there’s ever been a good time to bury bad news, then it’s now.

With the attention of the nation’s media firmly squared on the unfolding debacle at News International and the dissolution of the 168 year old tabloid The News of The World, British Gas has announced hefty rises to the prices of electricity and gas. Rises of 18 and 16 per cent respectively are due to come in on the August 18th. Coincidence? Surely not…

The news follows last month’s similar announcement by Scottish Power. And we wouldn’t bet against its competitors following suit in the very near future... Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to save money on your energy bills. We’ve collected a few of our favourites:

Shop Around

About a quarter of British consumers have never switched providers of financial services like car insurance, home insurance and, yes, energy too. This means a lot of people are missing out on potentially significant savings when it comes to their bills. The perceived difficulty in switching, not to mention the baffling array of tariffs and pricing options seemingly conceived with the goal of entirely bamboozling the customer, means that people are reluctant to make a change. But in reality, it couldn’t be much simpler.

Give’s gas and electricity comparison service a whirl – it’s a doddle. Some customers have saved up to £442.13* a year.

Fix up, look sharp

At times like this, its worth considering a fixed tariff, which will shield you from the rises for a fixed amount of time. They can be a great way of keeping your bills to a minimum.

Hot stuff

Making simple, easily implemented changes to your attitude to energy can also save you money. For instance, just setting your heating a few degrees lower and getting thicker curtains can make your house more cost efficient to keep warm. Also make sure that furniture isn’t blocking the radiators.

Bright ideas

Making the jump to energy saving light bulbs could save you a surprising amount – they last up to ten times longer than standard bulbs.

Off we go

Leaving appliances like computers, tellies, microwaves and stereos on standby overnight uses more energy than you would imagine. Make sure they’re switched off at the mains before you turn in or go out.

Energy firms' excuses won’t wash…but these tips will

When doing your laundry, use a lower temperature, and only switch the washing machine on when you’ve got a full load. If you really need to wash things in smaller loads, use a half load or economy setting. Think about drying your clothes outside…although with the summer we’re currently, er, ‘enjoying,’ that might not be possible. If you’re drying stuff indoors, use a clothes rail as just hanging stuff directly on the radiator sucks out the precious heat.

Cook up some delicious energy savings

Use saucepans and crockery which are about the same size as the gas ring or electric element to make sure that you don’t lose excess heat. Use lids on the pans if you can – this will make sure that whatever’s in it will heat up faster and use less energy in the process.

On the boil

When preparing your favourite hot beverage, make sure you only boil as much water as you need. If you’re a big fan of baths, consider using them less as they use much more water than a brisk shower. Finally, think about turning the thermostat or your boiler down a notch – about 60 degrees centigrade is sufficient for most people!

Got any energy tips you’d care to share? Join the discussion….

*The figures represent the average savings (£442.13) for 50 per cent of the customers switching energy supplier for both gas and electricity using the Energylinx and Energylinx powered Gocompare platforms (20th December 2009 - 21st February 2010).