'Catastrophic winter' ahead for households as bills soar, energy boss warns

We already knew it was coming, but we're just days away from the energy bills rising in October, with the cap increasing by 80 per cent.

You might have also noticed that after a swelteringly hot summer temperatures are now dipping causing more of a few of us to tempt firing up the old boiler for the first time in months.

What does this mean for you? Well, a typical annual bill paid by direct debit is currently £1,971. In October that will rise to £3,549, so you do the maths.

The new cap is in effect from October to January, after which it is expected to rise further and pressure is rising on prime minister Liz Truss to do more to help those in need.

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The government has pledged £400 for all households with an additional £650 for people on qualifying benefits. Truss has introduced a an energy price cap of an average of £2,500-a-year on average in 2023 but it's still an eye-watering amount for some households.

So with the government twiddling their thumbs, as one erudite Londoner would put it, instead of putting the onus on the individual to curb the rising prices, here are 19 things you can do to make your energy bills cheaper:

1. Buy energy-efficient appliances

Things like washing machines, dishwashers, TVs and other electric appliances are rated A to G in terms of energy efficiency with A being the most efficient and G being the least.

So, it is worth getting A-rated appliances. Kevin Mountford, co-founder and savings expert at Raisin UK, told Glamour this could save people £490 a year.

2. Don't leave appliances on standby

Mountford reckons doing so adds around £86 to an annual bill.

3. Unplug your phone and other rechargeable devices when they are fully charged

Even if they are fully charged it uses the same amount of energy, so time to unplug! You know what that means - no charging devices overnight.

4. Have shorter showers

The average Briton will take 227 showers a year iStock

Shorter showers mean less hot water means cheaper bills. Having cold showers will also help save hot water. Who knew the Tories would force us all to do the Wim Hof method out of financial necessity?

Showers, not baths are also the way forward, as is using an energy-efficient shower head.

5. Switch energy providers

It is always worth shopping around to find the cheapest tariffs and offers available.

6. Watch your lights

Obviously, you should turn off lights when you are no longer in a room, but changing light bulbs to energy-efficient ones can also help you save money.

7. Change how you do laundry

There are a few things you can do in terms of laundry to save some money and no, the answer isn't don't do laundry. The answer is only do laundry with full loads, use cooler temperatures and hang your clothes up to dry instead of using a tumble dryer.

And although this might sound strange, using eco cycles might help save money too because the longer a cycle, the less hot the water in the dryer gets.

8. Don't leave the tap running when you brush your teeth

Because it wastes water! Do brush your teeth though...

9. Bleed your radiators

Bleeding your radiator removes air bubbles trapped in the pipes allowing water to circulate more freely, heating your room quicker and lowering the amount of energy required.

10. Defrost your fridge and freezer

Removing excess ice allows appliances to work more efficiently because ice takes up room in your fridge or freezer. And weirdly, keeping your fridge and freezer full helps it to run as efficiently as possible.

11. Insulate your home

So you don't have to turn on the heating, upgrade to double glazing, fill gaps in floorboards and insulate your home in other ways to keep warm during the winter. Goodness the vibe does feel very 'Victorian Britain Without The Funky Clothes' doesn't it?

12. Don't overfill your kettle

Making one cup of tea? Then only fill your kettle to that amount - you don't need all that boiled water.

13. Ditch the dishwasher

If you hand wash your dishes instead, you will cut down on your energy use.

14. Put your heating on one degree lower

You might not be able to imagine turning on the heating given the heatwave we've been experiencing this summer, but as they say, winter is coming.

According to Hello!, you could save up to ten per cent of your heating bill by turning down your thermostat by just one degree and you probably won't notice a massive change in the temperature.

15. Use the right-sized hob ring for your plan

If you use a bigger hob ring than the pan you are using, it’s heating the air in the kitchen, not the pan and is therefore wasting energy.

16. Stop ironing your clothes

It's an overrated thing to do anyway. Crinkles are IN for 2022.

17. Clean your fridge' condenser coils

Condenser coils make sure that your refrigerator's cooling and heating system work effectively. If they are dirty, it makes the fridge work harder to do its job which causes your electricity bill to go up.

18. Lower your water heater's temperature

A hot water heater is the appliance that heats the entire water supply in your home. Turning it down can save you some cash.

19. Use the microwave not the oven

Microwaves use less energy than ovens because they only heat the food, not the air around it.

So there you have it. Are we a nation doomed? Quite possibly. But at least all the running around turning off lights and switches we'll do this winter will keep us warm when we can't turn the heating on.

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