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Save money on your gas and electricity

This advice applies to Scotland

There are many simple things you can do to spend less money on gas and electricity. You might be able to save a lot of money.

If you think you’re paying too much for gas and electricity, check what to do if your bills are too high.

Switch supplier or tariff

You might be able to save a lot of money if you switch supplier or tariff.

If you're on a fixed tariff

The cost of your energy stays the same each month. It's usually best to switch supplier or tariff near the end of your contract.

If you don’t do anything before your contract ends, your supplier will probably move you to their ‘standard’ tariff. This will usually be more expensive.

Your contract normally lasts for a year - check your bills if you’re not sure when your tariff ends.

If your contract is ending soon or you want more advice about switching, check how to switch supplier.

If you're on a standard tariff

The cost of your energy can go up or down. You might have chosen a standard tariff or your supplier might have put you on it after your fixed tariff ended.

Standard contracts are often more expensive than fixed tariffs, so it's worth checking whether you could get a better deal by switching supplier.

You can switch to a different contract at any time without being charged a fee.

Check how to switch supplier.

Check your heaters and meters are set up right

It’s important to check some types of heaters and meters are set up properly. It could save you a lot of money.

If you have an immersion heater

Immersion heaters use electricity to heat water. You might have one instead of a gas boiler.

It costs you on average 50p each hour to use an immersion heater.

You only need to run it for a couple of hours a day - or less if you have an electric shower. This should give you enough hot water for the whole day.

If you pay less money for electricity at night, set the timer on your immersion heater so it only heats water at night.

Check that:

  • your water tank has an insulating jacket - this costs about £15 and should save you about £49 each year
  • your hot water pipes have foam insulation or 'lagging' - this costs about £10 and should save you about £15 each year

Find out more about adding insulating jackets and foam insulation on the Centre for Sustainable Energy website.

If you pay less for electricity at night (‘Economy 7’)

This means you’ll have a two-rate meter, often known as ‘Economy 7’. You pay less for electricity you use overnight, and more during the day.

If your meter isn’t set up properly you could be paying the more expensive daytime rate for the energy you’re using at night.

You can check your meter’s set up properly by using a bit of electricity during the day and looking at your meter display. You should only see your daytime meter reading go up.

If you’re not sure what time your daytime rate starts and ends, check if it’s on your bills or contract or ask your supplier.

Follow these steps to check your meter’s set up properly:

  1. Look at your current meter reading and make a note of it - if you're not sure, check how to read your meter.
  2. Boil a kettle full of water - this will use some electricity.
  3. Check your meter again.
  4. See if the numbers have increased on the correct display.

If the numbers increase on the wrong display, contact your supplier and ask them to check your meter is set up properly.

You can get more advice about saving money with Economy 7 meters on the Centre for Sustainable Energy website.

If you have a night storage heater

Night storage heaters are designed to work with two-rate meters. They use electricity at night when it’s cheap. They store heat and release it during the day.

If your night storage heater isn’t set up correctly it can be very expensive. For example, it might be letting all the heat out too early.

Check if your heaters are set up correctly by watching a 2-minute video from the Centre for Sustainable Energy on YouTube.

Make your home more energy efficient

If you live in a rented property, you'll need to get your landlord's permission before agreeing to any major energy efficiency improvements. Your landlord can't refuse reasonable requests for improvements, as long as you can find funding for them. This is because of provisions in the Housing (Scotland) Act 2006.

You might be able to save money by making your home more energy efficient. For example, you might be able to make some home improvements.

To make sure you make the right changes to your property, you can use the resources on the Energy Saving Trust Scotland’s website, for example:

Getting help from your energy supplier

Your energy supplier might be able to offer you a grant to make some home improvements.

Speak to your supplier to see if they offer a scheme. You can also call Home Energy Scotland on 0808 808 2282. They can advise you on schemes by other energy suppliers, not just your own.  

Check if you can use less electricity and gas

There are ways to reduce how much electricity and gas you use. For example you can:

  • use your tumble dryer less, if you have one - try to dry your clothes outside or by an open window instead
  • run your washing machine at 30 degrees and make sure you wash a full load when you can
  • use LED or other energy-efficient light bulbs
  • turn off plug sockets at the wall if you’re not using them
  • close your curtains in the evening to keep in heat when it’s cold
  • make sure your fridge is set between 3 and 5 degrees and defrost your freezer regularly

You can get more advice about reducing the energy you use on the Centre for Sustainability website.

Get a smart meter or energy monitor

A smart meter can help you understand what you’re spending on gas or electricity. This could help you work out how to spend less.

Most people can get a smart meter for free.

Check how to get a smart meter and how it works.

If you don’t want a smart meter, you can buy an energy monitor instead. This tells you how much energy you’re using.

Find out about energy monitors on the Centre for Sustainable Energy website.

You might also be able to borrow an energy meter from your local council or library - find your local council on GOV.UK to check if this is possible.

Get help to pay your bills

You might be eligible for help with energy bills, particularly if you’re elderly, disabled, on a low income or in debt to your supplier.

If you need more help

Check what to do if you’re struggling to pay your energy bills.

Contact your local Citizens Advice bureau or Advice Direct Scotland's energy advice service if you need more help.

Advice Direct Scotland energy advice

Freephone: 0808 196 8660
Website: energyadvice.scot

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