Energy saving tips: 5 ways to ‘make the most’ out of National Grid’s proposed rebate

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The National Grid is currently planning a new scheme to credit households’ energy bills if they reduce electricity use during peak hours. The new announcement comes as Britain edges closer to the forecasted 30 percent energy bill increase in October, which could see households’ bills top £3,500 a year. But what are the best ways to cut your energy usage to make the most of this?

A spokesman for National Grid ESO said: “We are developing a new service that will be available for consumers to benefit from across this winter and will be announcing further information soon,”

It’s hoped the scheme will be up and running by the end of October and is expected to run over the winter months.

MyJobQuote’s energy expert Matthew Jenkins said: “This will come as welcome news to many as the energy price cap is expected to rise again in October, pushing annual bills to more than £3,500.

“With these rising prices, many of us will be keen to make the most out of this National Grid scheme.”

The peak hours currently fall between 5pm and 8pm. What are the best ways to reduce energy usage during this time period? Here are five practical tips to help.

Get a smart meter

If this scheme goes ahead, it’s likely to be calculated through smart meters, according to Mr Jenkins.

So, for those who haven’t already made the upgrade, the first way to make sure to benefit from the scheme is to get a smart meter installed.

Mr Jenkins said: “You can contact your energy supplier to arrange the installation.

“It will help you manage your electricity and gas consumption as it records what you use and displays the costs onscreen. This makes your smart meter an incredibly useful tool for working out what costs the most energy to use.”

Seek out energy-sapping appliances

The more people reduce their peak-hour energy this winter, the more credit they could earn. Therefore, it makes sense to work out in advance the appliances and devices using the most power.

Mr Jenkins said: “This is where monitoring your smart meter comes in handy. The next time you turn on an appliance, watch your smart meter to see how much energy it’s consuming. By doing this, you can make a list of your most power-hungry devices.”

According to the Energy Saving Trust washing machines, dishwashers and tumble dryers are responsible for around 14 percent of energy bills.

Mr Jenkins said: “Washing machine cycle typically uses 0.5 to 1kWh of electricity. So, limiting this one appliance could potentially earn you up to £3 credit per day, depending on how the scheme is calculated.”

Check your heating is efficient

As the scheme is predicted to run over the colder, winter months, heating systems are likely to be running, which will use a lot of energy.

Although it’s not practical to simply switch off the heating and hot water, there are ways to can reduce a system’s energy consumption.

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By running some simple checks before the cold weather kicks in to make sure water and heating are running as efficiently as possible, households can not only maximise the energy rebate but also help to reduce bills.

Mr Jenkins said: “A gas boiler typically consumes between 20 and 30kWh of energy when it’s running. So, get it serviced before winter to ensure it’s working efficiently.

“Your heating engineer may recommend a power flush or adding a magnetic filter to improve its efficiency. Bleeding your radiators and moving furniture away from them should help too.”

These measures often mean heating can run at lower temperatures and for less time, which will reduce energy consumption during peak hours.

Plan ahead

People can make sure they’re cutting energy use at peak hours by planning ahead.

The period between 5pm and 8pm typically sees Britons cooking and enjoying screen time, so another key tip is to make a diary of the evening, according to Mr Jenkins.

He advises people note down what appliance and devices they’re using and when, to figure out just how to reduce consumption.

He said: “For example, if you make lots of cups of tea in the evening, consider boiling the kettle once and filling a flask. or invest in an insulated kettle.

“If you frequently use your oven, you may find batch cooking cuts down your energy use at peak times without sacrificing hot evening meals.

However, for those who are not too good at planning ahead, Mr Jenkins highlights the importance of electric timers on sockets.

He said: “You may find using electric timers on some of your sockets helps to manage your peak-time energy use by automatically turning appliances on and off.

“These devices cost as little as £5 each but could help you save money in the long term.”

Embrace the switch off

Cutting down on using tvs and games consoles may feel as though the fun is being taken from the evenings, but there is a positive to switching off.

Mr Jenkins said: “Embracing the switch-off can reward families and housemates with more than extra credit on their energy bills. It offers the chance for friends and relatives to spend quality time together.

“So, look for alternative entertainment you’ll all enjoy, whether that’s board games around the table, joining a bat walk or taking up yoga. There are lots of activities you can do to help you unwind from daily stresses and reconnect with people.”

However, it’s crucial to remember to switch off non-essential electricals during this period regardless.

Mr Jenkins explained: “Although we may not be watching television or playing computer games, these devices may still be using electricity if they’re left on standby or simply plugged in.

“Laptops, routers, Sky boxes and phone chargers are common culprits.”

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