Many UK consumers use natural gas for their heating (including heating water) and their cooking needs. On average, this accounts for 2/3 of energy costs. In this article we examine:
- How to save money on natural gas bills
- How gas consumption is measured
- Switching suppliers to save money
How can I save money on natural gas bills?
Nobody wants to be cold in the winter but putting on an extra layer of clothing instead of turning up the heating can lead to significant reductions in energy consumption. Reducing the thermostat by 1 degree centigrade can cut heating bills by up to 10%.
Apart from controlling the thermostat, you should also think about when heating is necessary. An automatic timer which switches the heating on at breakfast time, turns it off the during the day but turns it back on when the family returns from work and/or school will also lead to savings.
In order to reduce gas bills further, you should also think about which rooms need to be heated. Having radiators which can be controlled independently means that heating can be turned off when rooms aren’t in use. Apart from energy consumption, you should ensure your home is well insulated. Cut gas bills by reducing heat lost through walls, the attic, doors and/or windows.
For cooking, savings can be made by making sure that you use the right-sized pan and always ones with fitted lids. When boiling vegetables, you can turn off the heat just before they’re ready and the residue heat will allow the food to keep cooking. Investing in a pressure cooker will also save money when slow cooking stews and soups.
How is gas consumption measured for billing?
Although customers are billed in kilowatt hours (kWh), their gas consumption is recorded in cubic feet (for older meters) or cubic metres. In order to convert one to the other, you need to make the following calculations:
- Convert feet to metres by multiplying by 2.83 (if necessary).
- Multiply the cubic metre reading by 1.02264.
- Multiply by the calorific value (which is the energy content per unit mass of gas, is recorded daily as the composition of gas can vary and will be given on your bill).
- Divide by 3.6 to find the kWh.
- Multiply the kWh by the pence rate. This price varies in different areas of the UK.
Can I get cheaper gas bills by switching energy suppliers?
Ofgem, the industry regulator, has estimated that 54% of consumers (or the equivalent of 11 million UK households) are on a SVT (Standard Variable Tariff). They are, therefore, paying significantly more for their energy needs than customers on fixed-tariff deals. Considering that the price cap for SVT will rise by 10% in April 2019 to £1,254 a year, these customers can make savings of an average of £300 per year (on a dual fuel deal) if they shop around for a better deal from another energy supplier.
The best way is to use a price comparison site; you might have to supply information about your energy needs/use. Apart from the ‘Big 6’, you should also consider deals offered by smaller energy providers.