Can you feel the electricity in the air!?! Cos that’s what we’re talking about today!

We are roughly a year into our relentless quest to optimise our expenses and after a while you do tend to think that you’ve done all there is that you can do. However until I’m living in an energy neutral yurt with complimentary self sustainable organic farm in the Cotswolds, there is clearly still work to be done. Let’s have a quick look at where we are now, and how things could be improved.

The current energy bills picture

Aside from the fact that this winter has been a lot milder, temperature wise at least, than the last, I think we’ve still done a pretty good job of decreasing our energy usage in the flat. There has been no real effort on our part or revolutionary ideas employed aside from the bog standard “top energy saving tips” such as:

  • Changing light bulbs to energy efficient CFL ones
  • Turning the heating down by 1 degree C
  • Turning off a few things we don’t use when they are not in use (e.g. microwave, we have about 10 clocks in the house already and do not need another one!)
  • Generally being a bit more conscious of leaving lights and appliances on

Small gains add to worthwhile savings

Our old supplier Atlantic (part of the SSE group) were charging us £52 monthly for gas and £45 for electricity, which admittedly was a bit over the top in the first place, but when we switched and received our final bill they ended up owing us £122 for the electricity and £263 for gas. That leaves us with an actual cost of only around £25 per month for gas and £31 for electricity. Seeing as gas usage drops considerably over the summer it will be interesting to see our next bill from our new supplier, it should be even less than this, but we’ll have to wait a full year of a summer and winter to get a full picture of the costs with them.

Much like our old friend compound interest, it is great to see that all the small optimisations have been adding up to tangible savings, but the main point I really wanted to make with this article is that there is always room for improvement!

Seeking out some extra optimisations

A few spotlight bulbs conked out in our kitchen recently and I realised that we have been using Halogen bulbs for all of our spotlights without realising it. I’m not sure why it has gone unnoticed but I think we basically fell for the old trap of purchasing the cheapest bulbs we could find when we first installed these light arrays. Big mistake!

Anyway I managed to replace 10 bulbs with much more efficient LED ones for around £35 which we should make back in just 4 months according to the fact that they use around 90% less energy than normal lamps. I’ve installed them and they are also nice and bright, and I am hoping will be more reliable than the halogen lamps which have tended to blow fairly regularly. I also sold the remaining lamps I had (11 in total, 8 used and 3 new) for a nice round tenner on a facebook selling group.

Good Energy – switching your electricity to renewables

Some of you may remember my post on switching energy suppliers a while back and I was looking at Woodland Energy Trust, however that brand seems to have been eaten up by OVO energy now. OVO managed to put me off somewhat by the confusing number of tariffs, some of which are marginally cheaper on comparison, but only use 15% renewables, which I thought was a bit pointless. Surely you either support renewables and go in 100% or just want the cheapest provider in which case you choose one of the other guys who are burning a load of irreplaceable fossil fuels to feed your flat screen TVs in every room 😉

Anyway so long story short, I decided to go with Good Energy in the end who offer a simple 100% renewable plan and have a much better customer service record; they have been voted top provider for customer satisfaction in a Which survey three years running in fact! Can’t really argue with that. I’ve had a few emails back and forth so far and can confirm they answered promptly and politely, and resolved any issues I brought up with them more than satisfactorily.

What’s the cost?

In comparison to my old supplier here are the current prices:

Good Energy Electricity Gas
Unit price (pence per kWh) 14.220 p 4.157 p
Standing charge 17.66 p per day (£64.46 per year) 22.34 p per day (£81.56 per year)
SSE (Atlantic) Electricity Gas
Unit price (pence per kWh) 14.564 p 4.809 p
Standing charge 16.44 p per day (£60.02 per year) 16.44 p per day (£60.02 per year)

As you can see, it will probably work out roughly the same for me, plus or minus ten or twenty pounds over the year.

The only slight downside I can see is that I am now on a variable rate so we’ll see how that goes over the next few months. I may end up switching again soon if it goes up too much! Fingers crossed.

Anyway, if you want to do your bit for the planet and potentially save a few pounds, compare your rates to the ones above, and if they look roughly the same or less than your current charges, maybe you should consider switching as well

Have you had success in reducing your energy bills or finding a good alternative to fossil fuel based energy supplies? Let us know about it in the comments! Thanks!



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