You already know that your energy usage can impact your gas and electricity bill. But even those in the high user energy group can cut their bills by ensuring they're on the right energy plan.
Different houses, different people, and different habits means all of us use different levels of gas and electricity, and we fall into different user groups.
So, what are the different user groups and how do you find out which one you’re in? How can you effectively estimate electricity usage? Read on to find out.
Energy user groups — low, medium and high
There are three user group types — low, medium and high — and, as you probably guessed, these are defined by the average amount of electricity and gas you use over the year.
Energy plans are priced to appeal to certain user groups, so the cheapest gas and electricity plan for a low user will not be the best option for a high user.
That's because energy is often tiered, so the amount you're charged by kWh will vary depending on how much energy you've used.
Which energy user group am I in?
The easiest way to determine your energy user group — and choose the appropriate energy plan for you — is to look at your property type and lifestyle:
**This table is based on the average users for each group. See the detailed breakdown of the kWhs per year usage for each group below.
What’s the best energy plan for my usage?
As you can see from the table above, when it comes to energy plans, one size does not fit all.
In other words, the cheapest energy plan for your next-door neighbour isn't necessarily the cheapest plan for you, as your energy usage could be entirely different.
The best way to answer the question “What’s the cheapest energy plan for me?” is to run an energy comparison that allows you to enter your usage details. This will help you find the best gas and electric plans for you.
Low Energy Users — detailed information
An average 'low user' is defined in terms of energy use, as using 2,000 kWhs of electricity a year and 9,000 kWhs of gas a year.
- Property - a small property, for example a one or two bedroom flat
- Occupiers - one to two people
- Lifestyle - employed full time, spends little time at home
- Usage - washing machine once a week, heating occasionally, no dishwasher/tumble dryer
Medium Energy Users — detailed info
An average 'medium user' is defined in terms of energy use, as using 3,200 kWhs of electricity a year and 13,500kWhs of gas a year.
- Property - a medium sized property, for example a 3 bedroom house
- Occupiers - 3 to 4 people (example 2 adults, 2 children)
- Lifestyle - children at school, parents at work, everyone home in the evening
- Usage - washing machine a few times a week, regular heating, occasional dishwasher, TV and electrical appliances in the evenings
High Energy Users — detailed description
An average 'high user' is defined in terms of energy use, as using 4,900 kWhs of electricity a year and 19,000 kWhs of gas a year.
- Property - a large property, for example a 4+ bedroom house
- Occupiers - 4 or 5+ occupants (large family or shared house)
- Lifestyle - occupants could be home on evenings and weekends, sometimes all day
- Usage - washing machine nearly every day, regular heating, regular dishwasher use, regular use of a tumble dryer, multiple TV's and electrical appliances used
You should also remember that if your energy user group changes, the cheapest plan for you might also change. Compare gas and electricity prices online regularly and you can make sure you're always getting the best deal.
How can high-energy users reduce their consumption?
Being a high energy user usually means high energy bills costing, but the good news is the more you're spending on energy the more you potentially stand to save by changing your usage habits.
You can save by improving the energy-efficiency of your property, adjusting your habits around the house, and making small changes that will help reduce your usage.
If you're a high-user the chances are you live in a large property, and the bigger your property the more chance there is for heat to escape. That's why ensuring you have sufficient insulation installed is the most important thing you can do.
The most basic type of insulation is loft insulation, particularly in a large home. It's cheap and easy to install, and even if you already have loft insulation installed you should make sure you have the correct levels in place, particularly if your insulation was put in a long time ago. Read our dedicated loft insulation guide to learn more.
Although more expensive than loft insulation, if your property was built after 1920 cavity wall insulation could save you up to £110 a year on your energy bills. Installation costs can be up to £500, but you could receive subsidies from the government if you fulfill certain criteria.
You should also make sure your property is properly draught-proofed. Check around doors and windows, as well as skirting boards, floorboards, loft hatches, letter box, and disused vents to prevent draughts. Up to 30% of the heat lost in your home is through draughts.