Three ways Londoners can offset energy price hikes

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It’s no secret that living is already an expensive affair in London. It’s one of the most expensive cities to live in in the world. And it’s earned the unfortunate crown for having the most expensive public transport in the world, too.

The last thing we all wanted to hear was about the imminent rise of energy prices. Unfortunately, two were announced for 2022.

The first was when Ofgem warned of oncoming “significant” price hikes towards the end of 2021. These were forecast because of an increased demand for gas from a number of factors. For example, low yields from UK wind farms during summer, a longer, colder winter in Europe, and higher demand for natural gas from Asia.

On 3rd February 2022, Ofgem finalised how much the price cap was going to increase by, and announced that it’d be going up by a whopping 54% on 1st April.

But things didn’t stop there.

Just three weeks later, on 24th February, Russia invaded Ukraine. Russia happens to be the largest exporter of natural gas in the world. So the following sanctions it faced from Europe caused wholesale prices of energy across the whole market to spike for a second time.

As a result, it’s been predicted that around 18 million households in the UK on standard tariffs will see an average increase of £693 per year – from £1,277 to £1,971.

While rising energy prices – and the rising cost of living in general – are unfortunately unavoidable, there are some steps you can take to help keep on top of your energy bills.

1. Light up your home for less

Aside from more obvious advice like turning lights off when not in use, the type of lighting you use can also have an impact on your energy expenditure.

LED bulbs are a lot more energy efficient than filament bulbs, and use over 75% less energy. And according to the Energy Saving Trust, replacing all the bulbs in your home with LEDs can save you money each year on your electricity bills.

Thankfully, LEDs generally don’t cost any more than their filament counterparts. And they last a lot longer too, with a lifespan of up to a massive 100,000 hours (just over 10 years) versus the 1,000–4,000 of filament bulbs (less than half a year). So you’ll also end up saving money on new bulbs in the long run.

2. Switch to a cheaper provider

Whether you’re renting or a homeowner, you don’t have to stay with an energy provider you’re unhappy with. If you’re moving into a new rental, ask the landlord who currently supplies the property so you can compare them against others.

Even though energy prices are rising across the board, some suppliers still offer better deals than others.

For example, on UK Power’s list of the cheapest gas suppliers, Utility Warehouse comes out on top (view their app here), while SSE and OVO Energy also offer comparably cheaper rates to the “Big 6”.

Utility Warehouse, also known as UW, is a multiservice provider that bundles all your services into one monthly bill. As well as gas and electricity, they also offer broadband, mobile and insurance. And when you take multiple services with them, they offer additional savings too – saving your household even more money each month.

3. Bleed your radiators

Radiators can sometimes get air bubbles trapped in them, which stops warm water from circulating inside them properly. This can cause your radiator to heat up slowly, with cold patches, or not at all.

In this case, you’ll still be paying for the energy you’re using while the radiator’s on, but not fully benefitting from the warmth.

In this case, you’ll need to ‘bleed’ your radiator to make it more efficient and heat up properly. To do this, you’ll need a radiator key (which you can find at DIY stores) and a cloth to mop up escaped water.

First, make sure your heating is turned off so you don’t hurt yourself with hot water as you work. Then insert the key in the valve at the top of the radiator and carefully turn it anticlockwise until you hear a hissing sound. Use your cloth to catch any water dripping out, and retighten the valve as soon as it stops hissing and only water comes out.

Now turn the central heating back on, and check the pressure on your boiler gauge. If the pressure has dropped after bleeding the radiator, top it up with the filling loop or tap on your boiler. Finally, check to see if your radiator is now heating up properly.