Five simple ways to save money on your energy bill

It's getting close to winter time now, so ahead of all those cosy evenings in front of the TV, here are some tips to help you save money on your energy bills.

Maeve McLaughlin
by Maeve McLaughlin on 10th August, 2016

We all know the feeling when your gas or electricity bill arrives. It’s never good, but while these bills are a fact of life, paying above the odds doesn’t need to be.

Here are a few simple things you can do to cut down on your energy spend:

1. Check your gas and electricity bills

First thing’s first, in order to really take control of your energy consumption and spend, you need to check your bills regularly.

Recent research we carried out showed that half of Irish consumers don’t do this - be it because the bills are too complicated, or because they simply trust their supplier to get it right.

Not checking your bills could mean you miss important information like whether the bill is based on an estimated meter reading, or if your account is in credit. You also won’t be aware of how many units you’re using.

If you do check your bill and find it’s based on an estimate, you should submit a meter reading as soon as possible. This will mean that you’ll get a revised bill based on your actual usage, and should help to avoid the nasty shock of a huge bill down the line.

2. Change how you pay or how you’re billed - or both!

Energy suppliers offer their customers discounts for paying by Direct Debit, rather than on receipt of the bill, and for getting their bills online, rather than by post. So it might be worth considering if you’re happy to do this - as you’ll likely be able to avail of a discount.

But remember, if you do switch to Direct Debit and online billing, you should still take the time to check your bills. Direct Debit means the payment comes from your account without any action from you, so it’s even more important to make sure you’re being billed correctly.

Some suppliers also offer discounts to people who sign up to Budget Plans, or Level Pay. This basically means that you pay the same amount every month for your energy, with the amount you pay determined by your consumption the previous year. It can be a useful way of budgeting, as your bills will be the same amount throughout the year.

3. Cut down on your usage

One of the biggest ways to cut down on your energy costs is a fairly obvious one - cut down on how much gas and electricity you use. A few simple things can really help you do this. For example:

  • Turn down the heat. Making a simple change like turning your thermostat down by 1 degree celsius can save you up to 10% on your heating bills.
  • Power off completely. When you’re not using any appliances, make sure you turn them completely off, rather than leaving them on standby. You should also plug out things like chargers when they’re not in use.
  • Do your washing wisely. Always wash full loads of clothes, rather than just a few items, and try to wash at a lower temperature if at all possible.
  • Replace old bulbs with energy efficient ones. This will have an upfront cost, but will save you money on lighting costs for the lifetime of the bulb.

4. Make sure your home is well-insulated

Making sure your home doesn’t have any draughts, and closing curtains to keep the heat in at night-time, will help you to conserve heat and therefore use less energy.

You should also ensure your hot water tank is insulated - with a lagging jacket or similar - in order to keep that immersion use as low as possible.

5. Switch to a better deal

Only 15% of us switched to a new energy supplier last year, which means lots of us are missing out on the better deals that are out there. The average dual fuel customer can save up to €360 a year by switching to the cheapest tariffs on the market.

It may seem like a big effort, but in fact it only takes around 5-7 minutes to compare offers and complete a switch - and it’s the single biggest way to make sure you’re paying the cheapest possible rate for your energy.

Save up to €360: Compare energy deals now