Utility bills are inevitable but with a few simple steps it is possible to reduce your energy costs.
Take meter readings when you move in and out. If you don’t you may end up being billed for the usage of the previous or following tenants.
Do not get billed on estimates. If you do not give a meter reading then your bills will be based on estimates. You may therefore end up paying for more electricity than you actually use. Also there is nothing to stop the utility companies re-estimating bills and charging you more money.
Give the utility company the names of everyone in the house. This ensures joint liability for any bills.
Check if you are eligible for a charitable grant. If you are having difficulty paying your utility bills you may be eligible for financial assistance in the form of a Charis Grant. More information and how to apply is avaliable on the Charis Grants website.
It is important to make sure that the energy supplier you are using is giving you the best deal. The easiest way to find the cheapest supplier in your area is to use a price comparison site such as Energy Helpline, USwitch or Money Supermarket. These sites will show you how much you could save and some of them will help you switch your accounts. When you are looking for a new supplier it is important to consider your payment method - if you pay by direct debit this offers a guarantee of payments coming on time and sometimes means you can get a cheaper deal. Getting your electricity and gas from the same supplier can also sometimes lead to you getting a better deal.
One easy way of cutting your bills is to use less energy. Below are a few ideas on how to use less energy.
Use energy efficient light bulbs
Turn down your thermostat. According to the World Wildlife Fund if you turn it down by just a degree it can cut the energy used to heat your home by 10%
Wash your clothes in the washing machine at 30°C
Run your fridge at between 3-5°C
Turn down the hot water to 60°C
Do not leave TVs and computers on standby
Do not leave your phone charger and other such electrical appliances plugged in and turned on
Draw your curtains at dusk to maintain the heat in your room
For more information on utility suppliers, have a look at the external links on the right hand side of this page. My Student Bills is a useful resource and contains lots of information specifically targeted at students.