Last night’s Radio 4 Report programme reinforced our long-held view that the only way to cut home energy bills is to reduce consumption.
Over the half hour BBC programme, presenter Hannah Barnes talked with customers and professionals in the energy sector to find out where the money from our energy bills goes.
Hannah concluded that “the only way to stop our bills spiralling out of control is if we use less”.
She talked to Audrey Gallacher, Director of Energy, Consumer Futures who underlined that energy was a high-end commodity that costs consumers hundreds of pounds a year and this would not change.
Audrey said: “The real issue is that people need to be given more help to make their homes more energy efficient to help them save money.”
Both Audrey and Hannah took the words out of our mouths here at SaveMoneyCutCarbon. We have been arguing long and hard all year that consumption is the key to saving money (and cutting carbon footprint).
Reducing energy use in the home and in business is the effective, long-term and sustainable way to cut bills. We also argue that the Government’s “green” strategies are not working and that we need to act right now.
We can certainly be more savvy about who we buy our energy from, as Stephen Fitzpatrick, managing director of Ovo Energy says in the programme. His company is making a difference to people’s energy costs by simply being a more efficient business.
Stephen advised that the recent Big Six energy company price rises were not so much going to add profits as help to fund inefficiencies. Challenger energy brands like Ovo Energy should be a port of call for every “sticky” customer – these are the majority who do not switch supplier. It makes no economic sense to stay with companies who are not, for whatever reason, doing their utmost to be efficient.
It is also pretty certain that George Osborne, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, will remove the Energy Commitment Obligation (ECO) under which the UK energy companies raise money through our bills to promote energy-savings in the home and in business.
This element would be subsumed in general taxation, by all accounts. At this point, the Government must provide support for everyone to make savings by cutting energy and water consumption. This goes way beyond loft insulation and double glazing.
A national Government-funded project – Cut Consumption, Cut Bills – that provides effective support for homes and businesses to replace inefficient lighting with LED lighting and water saving products should deliver truly impressive savings.
Don’t just take our word for it. Lux magazine has a great article in the current edition (November) with trusted data showing that a typical UK home should save £254 a year in electricity costs with LEDs.
Our research further shows that by using eco shower heads, eco taps and quality tap aerators, households can save around £400 a year in heating and water bills.
We think the figure of £650 savings is compelling and that the Government should act now to promote and support a national campaign – Cut Consumption, Cut Bills – that helps both consumers and businesses replace traditional lighting with LED solutions, and install water/heating products that reduce consumption substantially.
These solutions are simple, cost-effective and go on saving money by cutting consumption year after year.
We also think that it is unacceptable that many people in the UK are in fuel poverty, unable to properly heat their homes.
Hannah Barnes talked to a single mother with two children in Brighton, whose salary as an administrator in the NHS was not enough to pay her ever-increasing energy bills, forcing her and her family to live in the cold for much of the time – cold enough for to see your breath sometimes.
The programme said that there are thousands like the single mum in the UK and that there was mounting anger over the energy price prices announced by five of the Big Six energy companies in the UK.
You can listen to Hannah Barnes’ programme here and if you want to cut your energy and water consumption, call us on 0845 123 5464 or email us to start the conversation. You can also browse our online shop, which has a handy calculator showing how much you can save with our range of energy-saving solutions.