With the cost-of-living crisis continuing to hit consumers’ pockets, we’re all looking at where we can make savings. Cutting the cost of utility bills can help to ease the financial strain when you’re renting and your rental package doesn’t include bills. Even seemingly simple measures – such as only filling a kettle for the water you need – can have an impact. This article provides you with more handy money-saving ideas.
Choose an energy-efficient rental in the first place
Under the Minimum Energy Efficiency Standard (MEES) Regulations, since April 2023 non-domestic landlords have been required to obtain at least an EPC E rating – unless they have registered a valid exemption – for all privately rented non-domestic properties. It means basic measures to improve the energy efficiency of the property you are looking to rent – whether commercial or domestic – should have taken place. Under current government proposals, this will be upgraded in 2025 to a requirement for the rating to be C or higher for any new lettings. From 2028, it will also apply to any continuing tenancies. But, you don’t have to wait. Choosing a property that has additional energy-efficient measures could help to reduce your utility bills immediately.
Shop around for the best deals from utility providers
There’s little excuse to stay on costly tariffs and you don’t have to stick with your landlord’s choice of energy supplier if it’s you who is responsible for paying the bills. Despite the soaring energy prices witnessed over the last few months, there are still good deals to be had. Comparison and switching sites make it easy to chase new deals and switch tariffs or provides to ensure you are minimising your spending across utilities.
Make the most of natural energy
While it might be more convenient to bung all your wet washing into the tumble dryer, take advantage of summer sunny spells and breezy days to dry clothes on the line or over an airer that you can easily bring inside if it rains. Open windows to aid natural ventilation rather than relying on dehumidifiers and close curtains to keep out excessive heat in the summer rather than relying on fans to cool down a hot room.
Use eco settings
Power-hungry appliances such as dishwashers and washing machines have eco-settings for a reason – they use less energy by lowering the wash and rinse temperatures and reducing the amount of water they use and so cost less to run.
Avoid wasteful use
Whether it’s overfilling the kettle for a cuppa or running the dishwasher or washing machine when you only have a half-load, avoiding wasteful use is critical. Leaving items on standby, or leaving plug sockets switched on, also wastes power. Get into the habit of turning them off at night to save you money. Not only that, but this is a good practice that will help protect you from the risk of fire. Other simple measures such as swapping lightbulbs for energy-saving versions and draught-proofing the home in winter can also reduce bills.
Arrange to pay by direct debit
There are various options for paying your utility bills. In the case of energy, a prepayment meter avoids monthly or quarterly bills, which is a more expensive way to pay. Instead, paying by monthly direct debit allows you to spread the cost of your utility bills so that there are no nasty surprises and it’s easier to budget. It’s also the method favoured by suppliers who generally provide discounts for customers that pay in this way. According to Shell Energy, paying for dual fuel by direct debit on a flexible tariff saves the average household £137 a year.
As we mentioned, simple measures such as turning off sockets not just save you money, but also reduce the risk of fire. To ensure you are covered for risks such as fire, get a quote now for tenant content insurance that can cover up to £50,000 of contents as standard.