Save money on your gas and electricity
If you’re struggling to pay for your gas or electricity, or just want to spend less, there are some steps you can take to reduce what you pay.
Check if you’re getting the best energy deal
You could save money on your gas or electricity by changing your energy tariff or supplier.
At the end of a fixed-term, it’s a good idea to check which tariffs and suppliers can offer you a better deal. If you don’t do anything, your current supplier might move you to their ‘standard tariff’ - this is usually more expensive than other available tariffs.
You can use our price comparison service to compare energy prices from all the UK energy suppliers.
If you have a prepayment meter
You can usually still switch suppliers to save money if you have a prepayment meter. The exception is if you owe more than £500 for gas or £500 for electricity.
You could also save money by replacing your prepayment meter with one that lets you pay after using energy rather than in advance. As well as getting lower prices, you won’t have to worry about running out of credit.
Most suppliers won’t charge you for removing a prepayment meter, though many will run a credit check or ask you for a deposit.
If you live in a mobile home
If you live in a mobile home, the site may charge you for providing electricity. From 1 May 2017, there is a new licensing system for mobile home sites with permanent residents in Scotland. Your local authority can check that the site owner or manager is a 'fit and proper' person to run the site. This includes keeping to the rules about the charges that can be passed on to permanent residents for supplying electricity.
If you think you are being overcharged for electricity on a mobile home site, you can contact your local authority. You could consult an experienced adviser, for example, at a Citizens Advice Bureau - where to get advice.
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.
Try to use less energy
You can easily start to use less energy by:
- using your heating controls effectively such as thermostats, radiator valves and timers - you could save over £100 a year by only heating your home and water when you need it
- replacing an old-style lightbulb with an energy-efficient one - you could save £50 over the lifetime of the bulb
- turning off appliances left on standby - you could save around £30 a year
You’ll find it easier to reduce your bills if you keep track of how much energy you’re using.
You can also look at your most recent energy bill to see how much energy you consumed in the period the bill covers. You can then compare it to the previous bill you received.
If you’ve been with your supplier for more than a year they might send you an annual statement. This will show how much energy you used in the past year, compared to the year before.
Another option is to buy an energy monitor. This is an electrical device that tells you how much energy you’re using. You might also be able to borrow one from your local council or library - contact them to find out if this is possible.
Get a smart meter
A smart meter is a new type of energy meter that will eventually be introduced in homes throughout the UK.
It has a digital display that lets you keep track of how much energy you’re using, which will help you use less. It can also send data about your usage to your energy supplier to make sure you get accurate energy bills.
Find out more about getting a smart meter.
Make your home more energy-efficient
You could cut your bills by installing insulation, glazing or a more efficient heating system in your home. You may be able to get loans or other help to make your home more energy efficient.
Find out more about help with energy efficiency
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.
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:
- look up the recommendations in your property’s Energy Performance Certificate, if you have one (you'll only have one if you moved into your home after 2008)
- visit an energy-efficient 'show home' that has already had measures installed
If you get work done, try to find a trustworthy trader.
Getting help from your energy supplier
Your energy supplier might be able to offer you a grant to make improvements, for example through the Energy Company Obligation. This could include insulation or a replacement boiler. What you can get depends on your circumstances and what would help your home.
Speak to your supplier to see if they offer a scheme. You can also call the Energy Saving Advice Service on 0808 808 2282. They can advise you on schemes by other energy suppliers, not just your own.
Read our guidance if you can’t afford to pay your bills or you’re in debt to your supplier.
Get advice from Home Energy Scotland
You can get help and advice on saving money on your bills from Home Energy Scotland. This service is free and impartial, for anyone who wants advice on making their home warmer and their bills more affordable.
If you need extra support, for example because someone in your household is disabled, their Energycarers team can do home visits.
Telephone: 0808 808 2282, Monday to Friday 9am to 8pm
Calls to this number are free.
Alternatively, you can use their online contact form.