Posts Tagged ‘Energy Saving Trust’

Utility bill breakdown

November 5, 2012 Leave a comment
Utility bills contain a variety of charges, but what are you actually paying for? We look at how utility bills are put together, and how to cut down your usage. The average utility bill is made up of several different components. Here is a breakdown of an average utility bill to give you a better idea of where your money is going, a guide on how to use, and tips on how to cut down your usage.

Breakdown of your average utility bill

utility bills breakdown

Meter provision

8% of your gas bill and 7% of your electricity bill. Meter provision is the cost of your meter, plus its installation and maintenance

Environmental costs

4% of your gas bill and 10% of your electricity bill Government environmental initiatives have an impact on the cost of your gas and electricity, because a proportion of your bill is used to subsidies them.

These charges are not itemised on your bill, so you won’t see exactly how much you are contributing.

Environmental schemes which are subsidised by your gas and electricity bills include:

  • Feed-in Tariff scheme (FITs)
  • Carbon Emissions Reduction Target (CERT)
  • Community Energy Saving Programme (CESP)
  • The Renewables Obligation (RO)
  • EU Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS)


5% of your gas bill and 5% of your electricity bill. Contrary to popular belief, you do not pay full VAT on gas and electricity, but you do pay some. Currently VAT payments are capped at 5%.

Transmission charges

2% of your gas bill, 5% of your electricity bill Transmission networks are what actually deliver electricity and gas to your home, and some of the cost of building and maintaining transmission chargers is passed on to customers.

Distribution charges

19% of your gas bill, 18% of your electricity bill Some of the cost of building, maintaining and operating the local gas pipes and electricity wires which deliver energy to the home is passed on to customers.

Wholesale energy, supply costs and profit margin

63% of your gas bill, 54% of your electricity bills This is the charge for the actual gas and electricity that you use, which makes up the bulk of your bill.

Wholesale cost refers to the price that the energy supplier has to pay for the gas and electricity they buy.

Supply costs are the costs the energy supplier incurs for the general administration associated with a retail business – for example running a call centre and sending out bills – these vary according to what tariff you are on.

Profit margin is the amount of profit the energy supplier makes from each tariff.

How your energy bill is split

You can find a pie chart from 2011 below that shows you how a typical energy bill is divided up. Next to the pie chart, you’ll also find a table that shows you what the split means in monetary terms for the average household.42% of our energy bill goes on heating

Data for the pie chart and table sourced from the Energy Savings Trust.

With over £756 of your energy bill going on heating and hot water alone – you might consider putting on a warm jumper before turning on the boiler. If you find these figures worrying, there are plenty of things you can do to bring down your energy bills.

Cut your costs


The biggest portion of your energy bill is taken up with heating your home and your water. Follow these tips and you could save a fortune on your heating bills:

  • Turn your thermostat down by 1 degree. This could save you as much as £55 over the space of a year.
  • Make sure your home is adequately insulated. Loft and cavity wall insulation may require an initial investment, but could easily save you around £310 a year in heating costs.
  • If you’re on a low income, you may be eligible for an energy efficiency grant to make improvements to your home. Find out if you could be eligible and how to apply.
  • Help your heating to work more efficiently. Try using a radiator booster: a simple device that sits on your radiator and circulates the heat more efficiently, saving you between £70 and £140 a year on your bills.
  • Try to block any draughts that are coming into your house and make sure you close your curtains to keep the heat in.

In the kitchen

The next largest portion goes towards powering our washing machines, fridges, freezers and cooking appliances. Keep these costs down with these tips:

  • Do your washing less frequently . It may sound obvious – but keep the number of wash loads down by making sure the machine is full every time.
  • Use the ‘economy’ setting on your washing machine. Many washing powders will now work at temperatures as low as 30 degrees, helping your machine run more efficiently.
  • Dry your clothes outside or on a clothes horse. Tumble dryers use a lot of energy, and should only be used as a last resort.
  • Invest in a Hob Gas Saver to reduce the amount of wasted heat and energy when you cook. It simply slots over the gas burner to increase its efficiency, making energy savings of up to 12%.
  • Replace your current fridge/freezer with an energy efficient model. Look out for the energy efficiency stickers on modern appliances (pictured below). The greener, the better.

Energy efficiency label

Computers, gadgets and electronics

Next up is the amount we spend on consumer electronics such as DVDs, TVs and computers every year. Bring this cost down with the following tips:

  • Don’t leave electronics on standby. If you are forgetful, invest in a standby saver – it will automatically cut the power to any electronics left on standby.
  • Don’t charge your gadgets unnecessarily. For example, don’t leave laptops and mobile phones charging overnight, as this is a big waste of energy.
  • Don’t leave your computer and peripherals on when you’re not using them. Make sure speakers/monitors/printers are turned off when you’ve finished with them.


Finally there is the portion of our bills going towards lighting our homes. The quickest, easiest ways to save on your lighting costs are to:

  • Buy energy efficient light bulbs. They last up to 10 times longer than normal lightbulbs and could save you up to £40 over its lifetime.
  • Turn the lights off behind you when you leave a room. Try and get into the habit of switching the lights off as you move through the house.

Cut £’s off your energy bills in minutes

These energy saving tips will help you bring your energy bills down as well as reducing your carbon footprint. However, the quickest and easiest way to save on your energy bills is to compare energy prices online and switch to a cheaper deal.

Information provided by USwitch

Energy rates will continue to rise, what can we do?

April 27, 2011 Leave a comment

With energy rates currently on the rise, it all seems like doom and gloom. Not necessarily!

We should be shopping around for the best deal, as we do for insurance. By doing this, we can obtain better rates than simply staying with the existing supplier.

By allowing specialist brokers to work for you, your time is freed up to concentrate on your main business where you will be more productive. We can navigate around the problems that are all too common, time-consuming and confusing.

What else can be done to keep our costs down? Quite simply, we need to manage and adjust our energy usage habits. Often these can be fairly basic practices, U-GET can advise with this.

Monitoring your energy usage, pin-pointing trends and anomalies and acting on this is the way forward. Smart meters are being introduced with the perception that this will cure our ineffective routine and reduce bills – not if we do nothing with our data. A simple and effective procedure is to use an Energy Monitor, clipping the transmitter to our meter and sending information to the monitor, with the data able to be viewed on your pc.

We can do something to help reduce our costs, in business and at home, even in a rising market. However, we need to take a pro-active approach to it.

Practical energy management

April 27, 2011 Leave a comment

Reducing energy use makes perfect business sense; it saves money, enhances corporate reputation and helps everyone in the fight against climate change.

The Carbon Trust provides simple, effective advice to
help businesses and public sector organisations take action
to reduce carbon emissions, and the simplest way to do
this is to use energy more efficiently.

This management overview provides practical advice
to businesses on how to identify energy waste and
implement savings. This will ensure long-term benefits
for people, the business and the environment.

Although many organisations believe energy is a fixed overhead,
it actually represents one of the best opportunities for saving money.

For a copy of this guide or any others, please email:

Could more landowners use fields for solar use? / Renewable energy / Energy saving news / Resources / UK Home – Energy Saving Trust

April 27, 2011 Leave a comment

How to use less water – Bathroom water savers

April 27, 2011 Leave a comment

Reduce your flush

Toilet flushFit a flush-reducing device to save water in the loo!

Fit a water-saving ‘Hippo’ or ‘save-a-flush’ device in your cistern to cut the amount of water you use each time you flush. Your water company may supply one free.

See Water-saving gadgets for our verdict on some of these devices.

  • Saving Five litres (1p*) a day

Turn off the taps

Don’t leave the tap running when you brush your teeth. We could save enough water to supply 500,000 homes if the adult population of England and Wales remembered to turn the tap off each time.

  • Saving Nine litres (1-2p) a day

Get a new toilet

Got an old loo that’s due to be replaced? Do it now. New toilets generally use less water and are more likely to have a dual flush.

Toilets bought before 1993 will probably have a cistern that uses 9.5 litres of water per flush while those installed since 1993 typically use 7.5 litres of water per flush. Even more efficient toilets that use just four or two litres are also now available.

  • Saving 10 litres (2p) a day
Shower headShowers generally use less water than baths.

Take a shower

Why not take a shower instead of a bath? A bath uses around 80 litres of water – by comparison a shower uses only around 35 litres. Be careful if you have a power shower though – some of these can actually use more water than a bath if they are turned up to maximum power.

  • Saving 45 litres a shower (8-9p)

Save while you shower

When you’re in the shower, try to remember to turn it off while you’re lathering soap or shampoo. It sounds fiddly, but you can get used to it quickly.

  • Saving 10 litres (2p) a shower
* ‘Money saved’ figures refer to water meter customers on an average tariff charging 0.19p per litre.
Article:- Which? Consumer Magazine

How to use less electricity – Money-saving tips

April 27, 2011 Leave a comment

Using less energy isn’t just greener – it will save you money! The Energy Saving Trust estimates the average household could save up to £250 annually by putting energy-saving measures into place.

How much money can I save?

Quite a lot. Even without buying new energy-efficient products, the way you use your current household items can make a big difference. For example, a typical 42-inch plasma TV will use about 300W an hour, or 0.3kWh. If on for 4 hours every evening and left on standby when not in use, it will consume approximately £4.90 of electricity a month. Simply switching on its energy-saving mode when in use, and powering down completely when not in use as opposed to leaving it in standby, will take more than a third off this cost straight away.

Tumble drying clothes can use more than 60p of electricity per load if you’re machine isn’t particularly efficient. You can cut this by following our energy-saving tumble drying tips.

Also, replacing old energy-guzzlers like traditional light bulbs with new, energy-efficient equivalents can add to your savings. Which? members can discover the best and worst energy saving light bulbs in our online review.

Get the best energy deal

To make sure you’re paying the best price for the energy you use, use our switching site to get cheaper gas and cheaper electricity.

  • Saving The average annual saving using Which? Switch is £270.

Make your own electricity

Home wind turbine on roof

Our wind turbine used more energy than it generated

Solar power can generate electricity (solar PV), or for a much lower initial outlay just help you heat water (solar thermal) – this can slash your water heating bill by a third. Find out more about solar panels, including how much you can expect to save, in our online guide.

Small domestic wind turbines can provide up to 35% of an average home’s electricity needs, with shorter payback periods than solar panels – although the average wind speed around your house is absolutely key to how your small domestic turbine will perform. For most people in the UK, it won’t be worth it. Find out more about wind turbines in our online guide.

  • Saving After the considerable initial expenditure on a Solar PV system, the estimated average annual income based on annual electricity savings and feed-in tariff benefits is £835.

Say bye to standby

We’ve covered standby in some detail (see the Standby and electricity page). But here’s another fact: a single computer and monitor left on 24 hours a day will cost more than £50 a year in electricity. Switching these off completely out of normal working hours, and not leaving them on standby, could cut this to £15 a year.

Turning your DVD player or DVD recorderoff, instead of leaving it on standby, is another big energy saver. An average DVD recorder left on standby overnight uses roughly the same amount of electricity as a low energy light bulb left on for the same time. Some DVD recorders use double this amount.
  • Saving Up to £40 per year.

Use low-energy light bulbs

energy saving bulb 146

Low energy light bulbs can last 10 years

Change traditional light bulbs to low-energy bulbs. These can last 10 years or more compared with an average of one year for a traditional bulb.

  • Saving For each single 100W bulb replaced by a low-energy equivalent, you’ll reduce your electricity bill by about £11 a year.

Unplug gadget chargers

If a charger feels warm when it’s plugged in without being attached to a device, it’s still converting energy. So unplug mobile phone and laptop chargers when you’re not using them to save electricity and money.

  • Saving £1.50 per year. It costs less than a penny to charge a phone for eight hours, but unplugging when not in use is one of those changes that can make a big environmental impact if everyone does it.
Article by: Which? Consumer Magazine
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