With UK energy bills set to increase for many in a matter of weeks, those in inefficient homes may want to consider upgrading their insulation.
This is because new research from the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit (ECIU) has revealed that the six million homes that had their insulation upgraded between 2009 and 2019, will see savings of around £200 a year when April’s new price cap comes into effect.
These figures come from the fact that these particular homes moved from EPC band D to EPC band C with their new insulation, resulting in a 20% cut in each property’s gas demand.
In addition, the collective savings on the energy bills from these households will be around £1.15bn. It’s also believed that the savings for those with effective insulation will be greater in the long run, if the energy crisis continues and prices keep rising.
The government’s ‘ECO’ scheme can help
The issue many homeowners face is that these efficiency upgrades can be expensive, which in the face of an impending 54% energy bill price rise, makes affording them even more difficult. However, there are some financial support schemes available such as the Energy Company Obligation (ECO). This is a ‘government energy efficient scheme in Great Britain to tackle fuel poverty and help reduce carbon emissions’.
It’s claimed that under the ECO, ‘medium and larger energy suppliers fund the installation of energy efficiency measures’. Eligibility for the scheme is subject to a number of criteria and these can be found here on the ECO website.
Unfortunately, the ECO is one of only a few financial support mechanisms in place and there are calls for the government and the nation’s energy suppliers to do more to help consumers boost the efficiency of their homes.
These sentiments were echoed by Jess Ralston, an analyst at the ECIU, who said: “Insulation schemes like ECO work. They cut the energy being wasted from leaky roofs and walls, cut the amount of gas we need to keep warm and so bring down bills and they do all that permanently.
“Why are we not talking about this more? If we want to increase the security of supply and reduce bills at the same time, the only answer is to use less gas. That means insulation. It’s really not that hard to grasp.”
Other ways to bring household energy costs down
While the benefits of a more efficient home are clear to see, those looking for more immediate means of bringing energy costs down have other options to consider.
We’ve previously detailed several approaches to try that you can find here. These include speaking directly to your supplier to negotiate a new payment plan and enquiring with your local council about accessing financial assistance from its share of the Household Support Fund. You can also find some general energy saving tips here.
Recently, we’ve also covered the advice from MoneySavingExpert founder Martin Lewis, who has given three tips to try before the April price hike. There’s also the government’s £150 council tax rebate that’s available to any property in bands A – D. Plus, there’s an upcoming £200 energy bill rebate we can expect in October.
The final piece of advice is avoid using an energy comparison service and to stick with the standard variable tariff that’s protected by the energy price cap. Although the price of this tariff will rise in April, it’s still going to be cheaper than any of the best energy deals from the UK’s best energy suppliers.