Kettle and in-home display unit

How to fight back against rising costs

A smart meter alone won’t cut our bills. But knowing what we’re spending puts us back in control of them

Having a smart meter and in-home display helps us manage our budget and keep a closer eye on how much our energy is costing us. But that alone won’t save us money. To cut our bills, quite simply we have to use less energy.

Often though, that’s easier said than done. We don’t always know which appliances are gobbling up the energy, or which ones are a little easier on the pocket.

We’re not alone. A study by Smart Energy GB found seven in ten of us have changed our habits since bills started soaring*. But the same study found that some of the things we’re doing to cut bills might not be making much difference. 

The study showed many of us believe that washing dishes by hand is cheaper than using a dishwasher, if we have one. The truth is that washing dishes in the sink can use up to nine times as much water – all of which needs to be heated. 

Another costly mistake many of us make is leaving devices on standby rather than turning them off.

Positive actions we can take include insulating and draught-proofing to stop our homes losing too much heat. Dig out that old draught excluder, or make yourself one, and close curtains. Turning the thermostat down one degree can make a big difference to our bills over a year as well. And it’s the same with the kettle – we should boil only the water we need each time.

Another big guzzler in the home is the fridge. We should avoid leaving the door open for longer than we have to.

And a tumble dryer can be one of the costlier things to run – many of us use it about 150 times a year. Filling it up is more efficient than running it half empty – and one savvy blogger found that chucking in a (dry) towel can cut the drying time.** But it’s still cheaper to dry clothing on an airer.

Speaking of clothes, we can save energy by making sure they really need to be washed before putting a load on. Washing clothes too often isn’t good for the planet either, and it’s fine to wear things for three or four days before washing them (but not underwear!).***

Slow cookers are the low-energy heroes of the kitchen, while hairdryers are the hidden menace in many homes. We should avoid blasting our hair for long periods if we can.

Lastly, we should get a smart meter! They can be a huge help – seeing how much energy we’re using on the in-home display makes it easier to control what we spend. 

We can also put aside a few quid here and there to put towards the bill, based on what the display is telling us. We won’t have to pay anything extra to get a smart meter and it could leave us quids in.

For more energy-saving tips, check out the Quids in! website.

* Smart Energy GB’s Super Smart Energy Savers Report 2022


*** Society of Chemical Industry

Smart meters can help us save energy but it’s not automatic. We can use the in-home display to work out how to save energy around the home. Some homes can’t get a smart meter yet. Our energy supplier can tell us if we can have one and how soon it can be installed.

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