Finally there are some encouraging signs that gas and electricity bills in Ireland may be about to fall – at least if they follow the lead of British companies.
Over the last few weeks, several of the UK’s leading energy providers have reduced their tariffs – British Gas cut its electricity prices by five per cent with immediate effect; Scottish and Southern Energy announced it would reduce its gas tariffs by 3.8 per cent from March 26; and EDF Energy also announced it would reduce its domestic gas tariff by around five per cent following a mild winter. It’s good news for consumers, with the average British Gas bill, for example, expected to fall by around £24 annually. However, while we wait for similar cuts in Ireland are we taking enough steps to reduce our own energy usage?
From insulation to closing the fridge door
Insulation is one of the most effective measures to reduce your energy usage. A hot water tank cover is available for around €15 and yet could potentially save you three times that amount within a year. In addition, you may be able to seal doors and windows relatively cheaply with rubber strips, known as draught excluders, or even just self-adhesive foam. You could also target the gaps between your floors and skirting boards – all these measures could save around €60 a year.
If you have a little more cash to splash, then consider investing in loft and cavity wall insulation – it is estimated that around a third of a home’s heat is lost through its walls; with a quarter lost through the roof. Proper insulation therefore could save you hundreds of pounds a year. Double glazing can also reduce heat loss – around 20 per cent of a home’s heat is lost through its windows – and it also has the benefit of being an added security feature and helping you save on your home insurance.
Take a look at your heaters and appliances too. Upgrading an old electric storage heater to a modern alternative could save upwards of €100 a year; while replacing an inefficient boiler with an A-rated model could save more than €300 a year. Of course replacing appliances such as fridge freezers and dishwashers just to save energy is not a good way to save money – however, when they are at the end of their lifecycle it is well worth paying a little extra to get an energy efficient model to replace them.
In addition, look at those small lifestyle adjustments that can help you reduce your energy usage. Simple steps such as closing the fridge door quickly; boiling only the amount of water you need each time you use the kettle; taking showers instead of baths; and turning the television and computer off completely instead of leaving it on stand-by; can all add up to helping you save.
Gas and electricity voucher codes
Don’t forget too, that you can always move to a more affordable gas and electricity tariff to help you save – just make sure you take advantage of the utilities voucher codes section at Moneysaver.ie to maximise your savings.