With the government’s advice surrounding the Coronavirus outbreak, many people are working from home and spending more time indoors than they usually would. According to new Uswitch research, the extra gas and electricity used during this time could escalate Britain’s household energy bills by £52 million a week*.
Cordelia Samson, energy expert at Uswitch, said: “This is a hugely unsettling time for everyone, with many people staying home who don’t normally, and some having to juggle looking after children at the same time.
“Working from home and entertaining children during the day means having the heating on when it wouldn’t usually be, and using extra gas and electricity for cooking, making cups of tea and using televisions and computers.”
Around 16.8 million people across the UK are thought to be staying home when they would usually be going to work - using an estimated 25% more electricity and 17% more gas per day than they usually would.
For those on their supplier’s standard variable tariff, this extra energy usage could add up to a potential cost increase of £195 over the year, or £16 per month.
If you find your energy usage is increasing while you're spending more time at home, there are simple measures you can take to cut back.
Turning your thermostat down by just 1°C could save you as much as £80 per year. Remember that layering your clothing is a great way to stay cosy as the layers trap heat.
When doing laundry, opt for air-drying your clothes rather than using a tumble dryer, and keep your washes cool at 30-40°C to cut down on the energy used to heat the water.
When cooking, remember that the microwave is usually the most energy-efficient option. Use pans that are the right size for the amount of food you're cooking, so that you don't waste energy heating a bigger surface area than you need.
You can read more energy saving tips in our guide here.
Even if you're able to cut right back on your energy usage, there's no reason to overpay for the energy you do use. It's important to sure you're on a good value energy plan, so you can keep your bills as low as possible.
Cordelia Samson said: “There are plenty of ways you can reduce the amount of energy use around your home, however, and if you’re concerned about the amount you’re paying, you should compare energy deals to see if there is a cheaper plan you can move to.”
Switch to a better deal today!
On 19 March, the UK’s energy companies came to an agreement with the government to protect households during the pandemic.
Suppliers have promised not to disconnect households that fall behind on payments and are providing extra help to those on prepayment meters who can’t go out to top up their meter credit. Suppliers will also reassess, reduce or pause debt repayments or bills payments on a case-by-case basis.
You can read more about these measures in our guide.
Commenting on these actions, Cordelia Samson said: “People will be thinking about vulnerable friends and relatives, so the last thing on their minds will be their energy bill. It’s great to see what energy firms are doing to keep the most vulnerable people supplied with gas and electricity, and we would urge all suppliers to continue to work together to protect those in need.”
*Uswitch research can be found here.