Image above: Family living room; photograph Yinan Chen
Cost of gas and electricity bills is expected to rise by 65% this winter
The cost of gas and electricity bills is expected to rise by 65% this winter to more than £3,200 a year on average. Charities which deal with people on low incomes are describing it as a crisis which will push families into a desperate situation. Even those who normally consider themselves comfortably well off are worried.
The Financial Times is reporting energy consultancy Cornwall Insight forecasting the energy price cap for the average home will reach £3,244 when it is revised by regulators in October, up from £1,971 in April. Cornwall is predicting the price cap will rise further to £3,363 in January.
Image above: SES electrician
Chiswick firm SES offers free electrical energy tests
“People are getting in touch with their energy providers to find out why their bills are so high” says Byron Sanders, founder / owner of Chiswick electrical services company SES.
“They tell them to ask for load tests to check and see whether something is going wrong and we’re finding more and more customers are coming to us for load tests as their bills are going through the roof.”
Byron decided he would offer a free testing service and give people a full electrical energy assessment of their lighting, heating and appliances to see not only whether there were specific problems causing electricity wastage, but how they could cut back generally on electricity consumption by making small changes.
“We still come across the odd fluorescent light. Those have been banned now [production is being phased out] as they’re toxic and not environmentally friendly. We advise people to replace them with LEDs.
“Halogen lights too. One halogen lamp at 50W is the equivalent of ten LED bulbs.”
Image above: PxHere image of a family kitchen
Substantial savings to be made
People are surprised at how much money they can save by making a few changes.
“One customer we saw recently had 35 halogen lights. If she changed them to LED she would save between £1,300 – £1,800 per year.
“It would cost her £1,600 to upgrade 35 downlights to new LEDs but she would recover the cost in the first year and the savings will be ongoing.”
Many people do not realise that by leaving things switched on around the house they are adding to their electricity bills even when they are not using them.
Just leaving your TV on standby costs £35 a year. Leaving your phone charger on also costs £25 – £30 per year. They have transformers built in which are constantly using electricity while they are plugged in.
“Most people have three or four around the house, that’s £100 – £120, and some families with teenagers might also have three or four TVs” says Byron.
“A computer on standby mode is still using energy. Anything that is plugged into an adaptor that has a neon showing in it is using energy.”
He is guilty himself he says of wasting energy. He always fills the kettle up even though he is aware that half filling it each time he makes a cup of tea instead of filling it to the top would save him £25-£30 a year.
Image above: SES electricians
Old appliances use more electricity than newer ones. Fridges, dishwashers and washing machines all use a lot of energy.
“Energy ratings have changed in a year, so a washing machine that was A rated when you bought it might now be rated a D.”
Changing the habits of a lifetime is hard, but the hike in energy costs is really making people think about the energy they are using, he tells us. It is better for the environment for us to be using less energy, but it is the impact on people’s pockets which is concentrating people’s minds on making changes.
Byron’s Chiswick based team will come round, to businesses as well as residential homes, to give you an idea of the savings you can make for free and will give an estimate of the cost of suggestions of other improvements you could make.
Contact SES on 0207 523 5373 Monday – Friday between 8am and 5,30pm or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org
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