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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)

VAT

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

Heating

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.

Lighting

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
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Turning down the business gas but keeping business electricity on full!

by Energy Advice Line

So a lot of small businesses have been enjoying the mini heatwave – it can’t last, can it? Although many are able to reduce their energy consumption for others it’s a case of turning it up..if you’re making ice cream that is and a few other thirst quenchers for the hot weather!

Even if it is warm outside health and safety will want to make sure that your workers are working in offices and factories that are temperature controlled – so many offices nowadys have windows that cannot be opened so the air conditioning is on permanently. Okay for those that have motion sensitive sensors they have an element of control but for many businesses there is stil a need to be careful about how much energy is being wasted.

It’s not just offices and factories either that are in danger, many retail outlets have similar issues – do you ever look up in supermarkets and large stores and wonder how much energy a business is wasting heating their roof space? Well for businesses in this environment it is a big concern and so it is prudent to take all possible measures to reduce those business energy bills for switching off unnecessary lights and equipment to insulation and use of solar power, where viable.

One of the most important things a busines can do though is to check their bills and tariffs and visit an business energy price comparison site to see if they are truly getting the best deal. Using an independent broker can save a company a lot of money and stress as these companies will help you through the termination and contract set up and keep a watchful eye on your business electricity and business gas contracts in the future also ensuring that you are always on the best possible rates.

Energy bills update: Should you switch?

April 28, 2011 Leave a comment

As we emerge from the coldest time of the year, when energy use peaks, prices are stable. Unfortunately, they’re also higher than they were before the cold weather set in.

However, things may be about to change in the energy market. Ofgem has announced a huge overhaul of energy market rules that will do away with the many of the tariffs currently available, simplfy pricing and make suppliers more accountable.

Experts are predicting price rises across the market as continuing unrest in the Middle East pushes up wholesale energy costs.

‘The best tariffs, particularly low-cost fixed rates, are filling up fast and once they are oversubscribed, providers pull them,’ says Mark Todd, managing director at switching service energyhelpline.com.

‘If you’re looking to switch, you must act fast as prices are likely to start to rise by late summer.’

Npower’s Go Fix 5 tariff is fixed until May 2012 and costs £963 a year, based on the benchmark usage quoted above.

EDF is offering Fixed Price 2012, also a one-year fixed tariff, at £1,009 a year. ScottishPower has a three-year fix at £1,081. But these deals won’t be around for long.

The typical dual-fuel tariff for standard energy deals is £1,150 a year, according to Energyhelpline.

Consumers pay a premium to fix their bills, but with prices set to rise the gamble could pay off, particularly over three or four years. Of course, if energy prices fall then you will be paying over the odds.

Gas oven

How to get cheaper bills If you’ve never hunted down the best deal you are likely to be on a standard tariff.

Anyone interested in paying the least possible for energy should have little interest in standard tariffs. They should watch the ‘online’ tariffs, where you apply over the internet. Online tariffs are traditionally cheaper than standard tariffs.

Energy switching: The background

If you have never switched suppliers, or haven’t switched for an extended period of time, then now is the time to do it. Suppliers offer their cheapest rates via online tariffs so if you’re ready to switch, it will certainly pay to do so.

Suppliers tend to charge more for electricity to those customers who live in their ‘home’ region – the areas where they enjoyed a monopoly before energy deregulation. So switching away will almost always save you money.

Prices are different all over the country and the cheapest supplier for you will depend where you live. You only need to be interested in the tariff that is going to be cheapest where you live, so do your own comparison to find the best price.

Which suppliers have the best record on prices?

Customers hoping to single out one consistently competitive energy supplier, to avoid switching every year, face a difficult task.

gas bill

There are a dizzying number of options facing customers when they come to choose a new supplier and comparing like-with-like on energy is difficult.

For a period a few years ago, Scottish & Southern Energy (which also trades as Southern or Atlantic) could be relied upon to consistently be one of the cheapest on ‘standard tariff’ energy. These are the prices which the majority of customers pay because these are the prices for those customers who have never switched supplier, simply becoming a customer of the incumbent energy supplier in their area after deregulation of the energy market.

In the past three years, British Gas has stepped up efforts to compete on standard tariff prices and for a while was consistently the cheapest provider.

However, looking at standard tariffs is a false picture. If you are looking to switch to a cheaper supplier, it makes the most sense to opt for an ‘online’ tariff. The energy is exactly the same, but customers forego quarterly paper bills, they pay by direct debit and deal with the supplier online only.

Online tariffs are cheaper than standard tariff and suppliers launch and withdraw online offers almosty constantly, so the cheapest supplier will change every few months.

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:

info@u-getconsultancy.co.uk

Energy — it’s much more manageable than you think

April 27, 2011 Leave a comment

Energy is not an unmanageable overhead — it is one of the largest controllable costs in most organisations.

Cutting energy costs through improved energy
efficiency goes straight to the bottom line, making
your organisation immediately more competitive.
And saving energy doesn’t need massive investment in
time or money. At minimal cost you could save up to
20% on your energy bills — which could be equal to a
5% sales increase.

The Carbon Trust fact sheet can help you to begin in cutting your energy costs. Email now to receive your free copy:

info@u-getconsultancy.co.uk

For your FREE energy bill review, contact us today

U-GET Consultancy Services, ‘The Solution to your Energy Problem’.

April 27, 2011 Leave a comment

The Problem

  • Is my business paying too much in utility costs?
  • Does my business consume a lot of energy?
  • When did I last check my energy rates?
  • Am I on the best tariff available?
  • Why should I spend valuable time calling suppliers when U-GET will do it for me?

We all want to pay the least possible for products and services. Often the research can be tiresome and when you don’t understand the industry and service, you can be left even more confused!

The Solution

How would you like your energy bills to be reviewed, for FREE, to find you the best rates from the market?

Our goal is to save you as much money as possible.

Our experience helps our customers to avoid:

–       inflated rates

–       additional charges

–       pitfalls the utility sector has in store

With winter just around the corner and rising energy prices, now could be a good time to switch.

Contact U-GET today, to see what we can do for you.

The Problem

COULD YOUR BUSINESS SAVE £000’s BY SIMPLY SWITCHING ENERGY PROVIDERS?

  • · Is my business paying too much utility costs?
  • · Does my business consume a lot of energy?
  • · When did I last check my energy rates?
  • · Am I on the best tariff available?
  • · Why should I spend valuable time calling suppliers when U-GET will do it for me?

We all want to pay the least amount for products and services, making savings where possible. Often this can require tiresome research and when you don’t understand the industry and service, you can be left even more confused!

The Solution

How would you like your energy bills to be reviewed, for FREE, to discover the best rates and providers from the market?

Our goal is to save you as much money as possible.

Our experience helps our customers to avoid:

– inflated rates

– additional charges

– pitfalls the utility sector has in store

With winter just around the corner and rising energy prices, now could be a good time to switch.

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