The rising energy price cap has encouraged millions of Brits to change their usage habits
A poll of 5,000 adults found 73 per cent made changes at home in an attempt to reduce bills and offset the price cap rise before it came into effect on 1st April.
Common tactics include only filling the kettle with the amount needed (50 per cent), improving a home’s insulation (37 per cent) and turning the TV off at the plug when not in use (34 per cent).
And nearly half (48 per cent) have a smart meter to receive accurate, rather than estimated bills, and monitor what energy is being used, in near-real time.
Yet despite making changes, a quarter are still confused by the conflicting energy saving advice available.
Confusion about what can be done at home
As a result, many have attempted changes that will not reduce energy use, including handwashing all dishes instead of using a dishwasher (32 per cent) and putting electronic devices in sleep mode overnight (21 per cent).
While 22 per cent have been keeping the heating on permanently at a low setting instead of turning it on and off when needed.
Smart Energy GB, which commissioned the survey, has teamed up with Helen Skelton, Dominic Littlewood, and Money Magpie, to co-author the Super Smart Energy Savers Report, which provides actionable advice to help Brits manage energy use and household budgets.
Helen Skelton said: “It’s worrying to feel that the cost of your energy bill is completely out of your control, but unfortunately the price cap increase means that this is now the case for so many people across the UK.
“People need tangible, long-term solutions. While there are elements of the cost-of-living crisis we can’t control, taking steps like getting a smart meter to monitor energy use and being mindful of how long your devices are on for can go some way to helping Brits feel more equipped and in control of their household budgets.”
Knowing about your usage
The study also found three in 10 feel they don’t know enough about energy usage - with only a third (32 per cent) feeling well informed.
A further 28 per cent don’t feel in control of their household budgets.
As a result, almost half of those polled (46 per cent) want more external support on how to deal with increasing bills.
During this time of need, one in 10 have turned to helplines, such as Citizen’s Advice, while seven per cent have used bank loans for financial support.
Brits have made cutbacks to account for the rising cost of living too, including not buying new clothes (30 per cent), limiting the number of takeaway drink purchases (26 per cent), or shopping at a cheaper supermarket (24 per cent).
And a quarter (24 per cent) are limiting social occasions.
Victoria Bacon, Director at Smart Energy GB, added: “With the cost-of-living crisis set to continue and energy bills rising across Great Britain, it’s vital that households understand what energy habits are having the biggest impact on their bills.
“I’m pleased to launch the new Super Smart Energy Savers Report alongside a panel of experts and consumer champions, to help people to see what support is available so they can regain control of their energy bills.
“Our research shows that many people are still in the dark on what impact some actions will have but making small changes to how we use energy at home with the help of a smart meter can make a big difference.”
The study, conducted via OnePoll, found 47 per cent of smart meter users said having one installed has helped them to feel more in control of energy use, while 54 per cent better understand their usage now.
With more control and a better understanding, smart meter users claim adjusting their energy use with the information provided can reduce bills by an average of £366.24 over the course of a year.
Vicky Parry, from Money Magpie, added: “Costs in various aspects of life are rising – in energy, but also fuel and food.
"Alongside rising interest rates, this means that the new energy price cap will impact households across the UK.
“With this in mind, it’s fair to say that many people are feeling anxious regarding their finances, which has led to so many seeking debt advice.
"But we don’t want people to panic and are keen to share our expertise in how households can manage their money.
“We hope these tips will provide some much-needed clarity and support in helping households manage their finances through a turbulent year.”
For more information on the Super Smart Energy Savers Report and to find out more about getting a smart meter installed, search ‘get a smart meter’.
The super smart energy savers panel's top tips to save money
1. Get a smart meter – Smart meters ensure your bills are accurate and come with an in-home display that shows exactly how much energy is being used in near-real time and in pounds and pence, giving customers more control over their energy use.
2. Check your insulation and draught proofing – one of the best ways to reduce energy use is by reducing the demand for heating in the first place by ensuring insulation is well maintained and draughts that carry heat away are minimised.
3. Turn down and time your heating thermostat – As homes will lose heat throughout the day, it’s more efficient to only have your heating come on when you really need it. The best way to ensure it is only on when you need it is to set a timer.
4. Don’t heat empty rooms – Whether it’s a spare room you don’t use frequently, or a storage room that is rarely entered, stop heating it to save money. Check eligibility for grants or schemes to help afford energy bills – If you are struggling to pay your bills you might be able to seek help. Examples include a council tax rebate to keep safe and put towards energy bills, Warm Home Discount Scheme, Energy Debt Grants, local energy grants and fuel vouchers.
5. Close your curtains – Drawing your curtains helps to retain heat within your home. In summer, they can help keep rooms slightly cooler too by limiting the amount of direct sunlight in the room.