With soaring energy prices (and many people choosing between heating and eating), don’t get your info on saving money from MPs or the media, who provide little original inspiration. Switching energy companies does little financially, but we recommend switching to Ecotricity that is good for animals (wildlife-friendly and also they don’t make energyg from burning manure at factory farms – their gas comes from grass!) We’re fans of founder Dale Vince who despite his ‘former hippy credentials’ is a big thorn in the side of big business, also running a phone company to help wildlife and one that makes vegan school dinners!
We’ve seen how a price cap on energy works to protect people from runaway bills and lack of competition. We need to apply the same logic to food, most people spend four times as much than on energy. Why don’t we have a regulator for the Food Industry? There were 60 energy suppliers when the price cap came in, how many supermarkets are there? Just a handful. They dominate the sector and should be controlled. Ofgrub? Dale Vince
Read how to make radiators more effective. Oil-powered radiators are better than convector heaters that are noisy, expensive and quickly can lead to heatstroke in vulnerable people and pets. Never dry clothes direct on radiators (see how to dry your clothes naturally) and avoid direct contact with furniture.
Community energy is really the way to go, which happens a lot in transition towns. So rather than the rich person with a big house having a solar panel while everyone else slides into fuel debt – the school or other big building has a solar panel (with quick pay-back time) and then funds itself. Then gives leftover energy to power the town’s inhabitants (nobody has to rely on big energy companies).
tips to halve your energy bills
Do not tell vulnerable people to turn down their thermostat. Even by 1 degree, this could cause hypothermia in people and pets, if their homes are cold in the first place. Nor tell people to ‘wear an extra jumper’. People are not stupid, and likely have thought of that already if they can’t find money for bills. This is patronising politics at its worst.
- Insulate hot water tanks (pays for itself in months). Also insulate exposed hot water pipes, and install cavity wall insulation.
- If your shower works on the boiler (not electric), fit a water-efficient showerhead that saves water, but feels just as high pressure. Tap aerators give the same flow, but mix air with water to save on bills.
- If you can afford it qualify for the boiler upgrade grant scheme, get a new boiler, as modern ones are more efficient and cost-effective.
- Turn all stand-by sockets off (this can cut your bill by 8%). Likewise only charge mobiles when you can turn them off (charging overnight just wastes energy and is also a fire hazard, same with laptops).
- If you can’t afford double-glazing or thicker quality curtains, magnetic glazing is a cheaper option.
- When replacing white goods, go for A+ energy-efficient ratings. Use common sense in the kitchen (bowls to wash-up over running water, only fill the kettle for the water you need and steam food (rather than bake things for hours in the oven). Use full loads for your dishwasher and washing machine.
- If you hav an old house, a chimney balloon stops warm air escaping and cool air sinking down. It lasts for years and also blocks pollution and stops debris (and wildlife) from falling in.
- Gapseal can seal windows to stop draughts, and it’s easy to fit for all sizes. The company also makes DraughtEx for gaps in floors.