As the cost of living continues to rise, soaring energy bills are a major worry for many households.
Gas and electricity prices for a typical household will rise by £693 a year from the spring.
And they are likely to keep increasing right into next year.
In a bid to help those struggling with bills, we spoke to energy adviser Michael Hildrew, who works with the charity Greener Kirkcaldy.
He says the number of people seeking advice has rocketed in recent months.
Suppliers going bust and higher bills, combined with cuts to universal credit have left a lot of people in distress.
And he has suggested a number of simple things people can do to cut their bills.
Michael’s 10 top tips to reduce energy bills
- Turn down the thermostat on your boiler – put it on the eco setting for heating and at around 60 degrees centigrade for hot water.
- Reduce your room thermostat by one degree centigrade to save around £55 a year.
- Reset your thermostatic radiator valves. Michael suggests having them between three and four for the room where you spend the most time and two to three everywhere else.
- Try to keep heat in the room – use thermal curtains and roll the bottom up onto the window ledge to prevent heat loss. Also keep doors closed and move furniture away from radiators.
- Don’t leave the shower running before you get in. Spending one minute less in the shower can save you £7 per year.
- Switch appliances that aren’t in use off at the plug. Even phone and laptop chargers that are plugged in still use a small amount of electricity.
- Opt for a slow cooker or pressure cooker instead of using an oven and use a microwave where possible.
- Replace your light bulbs with LEDs and switch them off when you leave the room.
- Only fill the kettle as much as is needed.
- Speak to an energy adviser.
How to find the best energy deal
Michael and other independent advisers can also help guide people through the confusing maze of tariffs offered by different companies.
He said: “If you’re already on a fixed rate you’re likely to be better off staying on a standard variable rate once it comes to an end.
“At the moment it’s not worth signing up to a fixed price deal at all. It’s just way, way too expensive.”
“Come to us rather than searching through all the different websites. We’ve got it all under one roof.”