Apart from heating, the energy we use in our homes is mostly used by our appliances – especially white goods like washing machines, tumble dryers, ovens, and dishwashers. A lot of attention has been paid to making them use less energy, but after many years of reducing energy usage they’ve hit a plateau. The energy savings to be made these days are often relatively minor and there’s often little difference between them. Thinking laterally there’s an easy trick that can save hundreds of pounds a year that many people still neglect.
To reduce the energy costs of running all of our appliances (often significantly) we ought to start right at the beginning and make sure we are buying our electricity and gas from one of the cheaper suppliers. Most people can save a significant amount of money each year – even if they’ve already changed suppliers before. I personally have switched energy suppliers about 6 times and just switched again using Which? Switch* where my projected savings are £242 over the next year.
These savings can be far greater than the savings you could make by replacing an appliance with one that uses less energy. We don’t need to get obsessive about constantly transferring to the cheapest energy supplier but it does make sense to at least check we aren’t paying way over the odds by keeping an eye on competitive tariffs.
Changing energy suppliers
Several years back when the concept was first introduced it was much more involved to change suppliers. I’d go as far as believing the process was being made deliberately awkward, but after all this time the industry appears to have accepted the concept and is geared up for it. There are now many websites where you can switch energy suppliers for free and with little effort.
However, it’s clear that the majority of energy suppliers are still deliberately trying to confuse us with a ridiculous array of ever-changing packages. So much so there is talk of the government forcing them to offer customers their cheapest package by law instead of just swapping us over to the cheaper tariffs we request – only to increase prices the following year and bring out much cheaper tariffs and not tell us.
For now, people who don’t change their energy suppliers are being vastly overcharged, and it is necessary to review your energy supplier regularly, at least once a year. If you don’t you’re missing out on hundreds of pounds of savings.
My personal experience
I have now changed my electricity and gas supplier five times, and thanks to checking on Switch with Which? last week I just forced a better deal from my current supplier (Powergen) which has resulted in me being moved over to a tariff that they themselves estimate should save me around £160 a year. What was their excuse for not telling me? -
“Your current tariff is not the cheapest but offers you peace of mind that your prices will not rise above the agreed price. This is a comfort tariff, especially when the energy wholesale market is temperamental. If you decide to change your tariff to our new Energy Online Extra Saver (version 3) I have calculated that based on your forecasted energy usage you will save approximately £163.00 per year.”
This proves that even after switching to one of the cheaper energy suppliers you can’t rest on your laurels and need to check fairly regularly.
These savings aren’t all from running household appliances because they will include all energy usage but clearly white goods and other household appliances make up a substantial percentage of our electricity and gas costs.
See how much you could save
Related article: Reducing energy costs of washing machines & other appliances (Washerhelp article)
* My article uses affiliate links to Which? Switch but is a genuine article based on my experience and opinion. In my opinion Which? Switch offer the best way to switch energy suppliers because unlike all the others they are a registered charity focussed on helping the consumer Switch with Which? I’m impressed with how they show the cheapest tariff for us even if they have no relationship with the energy company and therefore would not benefit from sending us there.