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Save money on your gas and electricity

This advice applies to Wales

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.

Get benefits and grants to help you pay your bills

You might be eligible for certain grants and benefits if you:

  • have reached state pension age - check your State Pension age on GOV.UK
  • have a disability
  • have no income or a low income
  • have missed payments to your energy supplier

Check if you could get grants and benefits towards your energy bills.

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 at least 80mm thick - this costs about £15
  • your hot water pipes have foam insulation or 'lagging' - this costs about £20

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.

Switch supplier or tariff

You won’t find many energy tariffs on price comparison websites at the moment - this is because of changes in the energy industry. If you don’t find a better tariff than the one you’re already on, it’s probably better to wait until deals are available again.

If your energy supplier goes bust 

Don’t switch tariff or supplier until your account is moved to the new supplier. You might find it harder to get any money you’re owed if you switch before this happens. 

Read our advice about what to do if your energy supplier goes bust.

If you're on a fixed tariff

The cost of your energy stays the same each month.

You're probably paying less for energy now than you would if you switched to a different tariff. It's best to stay with your supplier or tariff until the end of your contract. When your contract ends, your supplier will probably move you to their ‘standard’ tariff. This will be more expensive.

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

If you want to look at the tariffs available now, you can compare prices and switch online. Make sure you use an authorised price comparison website. You can find a list of authorised price comparison websites on Ofgem's website.

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 tariffs are likely to be cheaper than fixed tariffs - this is because the price cap limits what you have to pay for energy on a standard tariff. It’s best to stay on the standard tariff you’re on and not switch. You can find out more about energy tariffs and the price cap.

If you want to look at the tariffs available now, you can compare prices and switch online. Make sure you use an authorised price comparison website. You can find a list of authorised price comparison websites on Ofgem's website.

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.

Make your home more energy efficient

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 or change the way you use your appliances.

Check how to make your home energy efficient.

If you need more help

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

Contact the Citizens Advice consumer helpline if you need more help - a trained adviser can give you advice over the phone or by email.

If you’re struggling with living costs

If you’re struggling with money, there are things you can do to save on your regular living costs. Check what to do if you need help with living costs.

If you’re finding it hard to pay your bills, you can get help. Find out more about getting help with your bills.

You can also get help with debts.

If you're struggling to pay for food, find out how to get help from a food bank.

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