I recently read an article in a leading newspaper that suggested that energy bills were rocketing whilst British Gas were pocketing millions. Now, I’m with British Gas, and my energy bills did get more expensive. I was also a victim of the recession to some degree, but I have since been lucky enough to secure a steady income, through a variety of channels.
So have my bills increased? Yes. Drastically. Am I worried? No. Not at all.
My household bills increased by about 60%, right when I was made redundant, and yet I stuck with British Gas. Redundancy, cuts and other serious issues aside (all of which I’ve faced to some degree, 2 years unemployed!) there are some really good ways to cut your energy bills, especially if you run a home business, or a small business elsewhere.
I’m going to split this into two sections, the first is how to save money by getting a comparatively cheaper rate on your business gas and electricity, and the second is how to reduce your energy usage in order to lower your bills further.
If you’re running a small business from home, you can get a business energy tariff. This may or may not be cheaper than your current tariff, but you won’t know until you phone them and ask. You run a business from home if you make money from blogging, content writing, or running an online shop amongst a number of other things. Check with your supplier, as a business energy tariff could (COULD) save you some money.
Next is to avoid price comparison websites. You don’t need to use them. You’re not that lazy. So pick up the phone right now and give all the suppliers a call. The sales people in the call centre are able to give you a much, much better rate than the automated price comparison sites on the internet, and they’ll actively go out of their way to give you a cheaper rate than their competition. Play them off against each other, but be warned, business energy tariff quotes are only TECHNICALLY valid for the day on which they are quoted. If that fact adds a sense of urgency to the proceedings, then I think that can only be a good thing to get you motivated
When you’ve got your new contract sorted, look carefully at it, and look at the expiration date. Basically, you’ll have a period in which to cancel, before an automatic renewal clause ties you in for another 12 months at a massive price increase. I can’t stress enough how important it is to carefully READ AND UNDERSTAND the contract.
Look into different tariffs. You can often get a discount for having a dual fuel tariff. You might also be able to save some money by going onto a renewable only tariff which in a majority of cases will make you Climate Change Levy Exempt.
Now we move onto energy saving tips.
If you’re running a small business from home, I’m willing to bet Barrie’s right leg that you use a computer in some capacity. Who’s Barrie? It doesn’t matter, the point is; he’s not worried about losing his leg any time soon. I can make the bet with a degree of confidence, because if you’re reading this, you’ve more than likely got a computer. Anyway…when was the last time you shut the computer down?
It takes 20 odd seconds to turn off a computer, and another few seconds to unplug it to stop it drawing trickles of power, despite being “off”. Putting the computer to sleep, or even worse, leaving it on 24 – 7 is not going to help save on your energy bills. Some are of the opinion that time is money, and time wasted turning on and off computers is worth more than the potential savings. I think these people would sell their own grandma if the price was right.
If you’re clued up, you’ll know that lighting makes up as much as 8% of your energy bill. So here are my top tips to saving money on lighting.
- LED lights can save you as much as £4 per year, per bulb you replace. Although they’re more expensive than regular energy saving bulbs, LED’s are more energy efficient across their lifespan.
- Use appropriate lighting for the task in hand. If you’re working at the PC, do you need a lamp and main lights on? Can you do without any lights on at all?
- Turn off all the lights that you’re not using. If you’re not returning to a room within 30 – 60 seconds, then you don’t need the light on in there.
- Have a timer fitted to your outdoor flood lights so that the sensors stop functioning after a certain time or they’ll be switching on every time a car, cat, drunk, urban fox, bat or moth moves past it.
- If you can do without the light on, leave it off. Don’t ever turn the light on for the sake of it.
I hope this has been useful to you. If you do just one thing after reading this, then I think it should be that you phone an energy supplier and get a quote, just to see how much cheaper they can make your bills.