Student Energy Saving Tips and Tricks

Student Energy Saving Tips and Tricks

Student Energy Saving Tips

Forget all about tariffs, energy suppliers and bills for a moment *Collective sigh of relief*. Believe it or not, there are loads of easy and cheap ways to optimise your energy efficiency through some small changes to your habits. WAHOO.

1. Rugs. Not got carpets? First of all, why?! They’re definitely something to look out for when viewing potential homes. But if your home doesn’t have carpets, rugs are the ideal solution to stop warmth escaping and just making your room a bit more cosy. Any excuse for a day out to Ikea!

2. Wait until winter hits. You’re a student, you’re not supposed to be living in luxury. You don’t need your heating on until November/whenever winter gets serious. Get the another layer on. Why else did you think your third year friends go home for the weekend ALL the time?

3. Don’t charge things overnight. We don’t care how quick your battery dies, this is the worst waste of electricity. Especially if everyone in the house is guilty. Realistically it only takes 1.5 hours for an iPhone 5 to charge fully – not a full nights sleep.

4. Turn down the thermostat, not the radiators. Turning down your radiator won’t actually save you any money as the thermostat will keep the heating on until it reaches its target temperature anyway. It will just take longer. You won’t save money unless you also turn your thermostat down! Hive, the energy remote app, reckon that you can save 10% off your heating bill just by turning your thermostat down by only one degree.

5. Thick curtains. Did you know about 10% of your heating escapes through your windows? Whether you’ve got dodgy single glazing or major draughts, make sure that your curtains are closed for those cold winter evenings. If you’re lacking decent curtains, dig out that Ikea blanket your Mum bought you in first year and throw it over your curtains. You’ll fall in love with your new makeshift insulating curtains.

6. Natural heat is free. Make sure open curtains in day to catch sunlight. Rare, but free, heating.

7. Dry your clothes naturally. As tempting as it is to dry your clothes on the radiator – don’t do it! Your clothes will absorb the heat from your radiators AND pour condensation in to your house. That’s a double whammy nightmare of cold and mould. Don’t do it. Drying racks are far cheaper than using a tumble drier and they won’t shrink your clothes.

8. Don’t leave your lights on. Yes, this sounds obvious and we’re definitely starting to sound like nagging parents BUT just don’t do it! It simply isn’t true that it takes more energy to turn them off and on again than leave them running if you leave the room quickly. Be kind to your student loan. 

9. Buy energy saving light bulbs. Going green will save you £££.

10. Set timers! Most of you won’t be in the house all day so just set your heating to come on 45 minutes before you wake up and 45 minutes before you’ll all be home to get a comfortable temperature. You don’t need the heating on when you’re all cosy under your duvet so you only need it on for a couple of hours in the evening before you all crash out.

11. Tin Foil. Ok, bear us with this one. If you want the ultimate DIY heat-fix, buy some high quality kitchen foil (we’re not talking Tesco Value here) and place it behind your radiator. It will stop heating escaping in to you wall and will reflect it back into your house. YAY.

Finally, if you’re cold put a bleeding jumper on! Don’t turn up the thermostat up to a million degrees – it won’t get warmer any faster, the thermostat will just use more energy and stay on for longer. Not to mention you’ll get WAY too hot. Sweat is not cool.

So there we have it! You have all the tools to become the official dollar-saving officer in your student house. 

Try the home energy savings calculator!……

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The Big Six Explained

Within the UK, there are 6 large companies who dominate the energy market; they supply around 95% of all household energy but who are they? They’re household names that everyone recognises, but are also known as ”the big six”. The control they have over the market leaves only a tiny portion to be served by the remaining 12 suppliers.

British Gas
As the UK’s largest supplier, British Gas is the most recognisable UK name with nearly 10 million customers. Part of the British-owned Centrica Group, a huge company also involved in gas and oil exploration and production employing 33,000 people. Profits were £571m for domestic supply in 2013.

Npower
Npower is part of the German power giant RWE; one of the five largest energy companies in Europe. Providing energy to 3.5 million customers in the UK they are one of the major providers of energy used in the UK. Profits were £134m for domestic supply in 2013. Last year RWE decided against building any new nuclear power plants in the UK.

SSE
SSE was formed in 1998 after the merger of Scottish Hydro and Southern Electric, later adding Swalec to the stable. Generating power and supplying, like the other major UK suppliers. Profits were £318m for domestic supply 2012-13. They employ about 18,500 people in the UK and recently vowed to keep variable tariffs frozen at current price levels until 2016.

Scottish Power
In 2007 Scottish Power became part of the Spanish energy giant Iberdrola. They’re one of the largest UK energy suppliers with profits of £128.5m for domestic supply in 2012.

E.On
German company E.On also own the UK company E.On who used to be known as Powergen, but switched to E.On UK in 2007.
12,000 people employed in the UK and 79,000 worldwide, generating and supplying energy including wave power. Like RWE, they recently ruled out building a new nuclear plant in the UK.With profits of £296m for domestic supply in 2013.

EDF
As a French state-owned energy company, their UK operations are an owned accessory of EDF Energy, supplying around 5.5 million domestic and business customers in the UK. EDF runs eight nuclear power stations in the UK. Profits were at a £92m loss for domestic supply in 2012.

Although these Big Six monopolize the market, there are 12 other suppliers in the UK! Use our price comparison calculator to see if you could be using a new provider and saving money!

Try it out now! Use estimated consumption if details not to hand!

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SwitchwiseTM | UKPowerTM | UswitchTM

Energy Market Investigation

OFGEM Investigation in to the Energy Market

OFGEM, the Government Regulator for Great Britain’s Electricity and Gas markets have recently launched an investigation related to barriers of competition in the energy market under the backdrop of increased profits of the leading energy providers and sharply declining consumer confidence. Among the reasons for low consumer confidence is the common practice of energy providers to increase prices for customers who have not switched.

As OFGEM doesn’t have extensive enough powers to address the whole issue, it has referred this case to the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) to make further investigations and establish a long term solution to help consumers regain confidence. This could mean that the “Big Six” energy suppliers could be split up to create a fairer market.

A month after the announcement, OFGEM started fining energy suppliers for mis-selling their services or for preventing customers from switching.

Recently, British Gas was ordered by OFGEM to pay a penalty and redress of £5.6 million for having blocked business customers from switching suppliers.

E.ON was issued with the most recent and at the same time highest penalty to date of £12 million which was for mis-selling to vulnerable customers which took place between June 2010 and December 2013. E.ON will pay £35 to 330,000 households that receive their “Warm Home Discount” and will write to another 465,000 customers to advise them how to complain if they believe they were treated unfairly. So look out for a letter from E.On if they supply your energy.

We believe this isn’t the last we’ve heard from OFGEM as more dubious practices get uncovered. In the meantime, consumers are advised to frequently switch energy providers to ensure they are not overpaying for the energy they are using.

Here at Switchwise, we are trying to make the switching process as easy as possible for you. We have an easy to use guide on our website on “How to Switch Energy Providers” or pop straight to our postcode checker so you can start comparing immediately.

Try it out now! Use estimates if you don’t have usage details to hand.

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SwitchwiseTM | UKPowerTM | UswitchTM

Energy Myth Busting

Energy Myth Busting

Energy Myth Busting

So you’ve set up your student house bills, you’ve switched to the ideal tariff and you know all there is to know about good energy saving habits. But it’s time to sort out the truth from the trash. Which housemate is claiming their habits actually save energy?

“Dishwashers waste energy and water.”
It’s official – the Centre for Sustainable Energy said so. Don’t be that guy that tries to ban everyone from using the dishwasher. It would actually use far more hot water to hand wash ALL those food-encrusted plates that your house mates have left out for a week. If you only use it with a full load, no more than once a day on a medium temperature, you’lll be saving money AND keeping your kitchen clean. Opting for an economy setting will also use less power and water. (If you’re even lucky to have a dishwasher of course.)

“I can’t switch energy provider in a rental property”
Ofgem states that you are legally entitled to switch energy suppliers. Of course, this is a different story if your landlord is responsible for your bills or there aren’t any other suppliers available. But, normally you CAN always switch. Your landlord is required to make you aware of any legal ties if a supplier is mentioned in your contract but Ofgem says that you are still entitled to change. Head to www.switchwise.co.uk to get started.

“It’s not worth switching energy supplier, they’re all the same.”
LIES. Just like banks reward new customer with attractive interest rates, sticking with your old energy supplier won’t do you any favours. If you are an existing customer you will both likely have been moved on to a more expensive tariff. You aren’t rewarded for loyalty. Don’t be lazy, make sure you make the most of offers for new customers. Switching really isn’t as hard as you think- all you need to do is enter your postcode on www.switchwise.co.uk.

“Turning down the radiators will save us energy.”
Nope. If your thermostat is still turned up high your heating will still keep working until the room hits its specified temperature. Turning off radiators completely is also a bad plan as you’ll just be asking for mould to start growing in your student house.

“I can have long electric showers because they’re so much cheaper.”
Electric showers may save water heating costs but having a luxurious long shower may end up costing you just as much in electricity. No singing in the shower allowed I’m afraid.

“Turning up the thermostat will make the house heat faster.”
Don’t let yourself be tempted to ramp up your thermostat when you come to your freezing cold house. Your heating won’t work any faster, it will just be work for longer to reach a higher temperature. So it will cost you MORE without saving you any time. Not worth it. Get more energy saving tips here.