In the latest of our cost of living in Scotland series of articles, Trust Deed Scotland® focuses on energy bill increases, which are expected to worsen finances for many households across the UK.
With day-to-day costs like energy, food and rent are rising steeply. If you’re worried about being able to afford to live, you’re not alone. Many people are struggling to cope with the rising cost of living, so if you feel like you have reached a level where your debts have become unaffordable, it’s important that you seek tailored Scottish debt advice as quickly as you can.
Arguably, the costs in energy bill increases in Scottish households have been more widely publicised than our increased cost of weekly food shop for example.
A recent Citizens Advice Scotland study found that as many as 84% of Scots are worried about the cost of their gas and electricity increasing. The poll of 1001 adults in Scotland found just 12% of those who answered the survey said they were not concerned about the rate rises.
Even more recently than the published CAS survey data, the Ukrainian/Russian crisis is expected to create further increases in our energy bills with claims being made that UK energy bills could be as much as £3,000 per year by the start of 2023.
There are many reported cases of people cutting back on how much they spend on food or are eating less, so they can pay for heating. Many people are falling into arrears, or using credit cards to pay for essentials, making the problem worse. If this sounds like you, you certainly are not alone. We can help.
Comparing energy quotes to save money
In normal circumstances comparing energy would be the best way to save on electricity and gas.
The process is usually really simple – using a service such as Money Saving Expert, you provide them with a few details, such as your postcode, current supplier, and payment and contact details and they show you comparative quotes.
However, conditions in the energy market right now mean that you are currently unlikely to be able to switch your energy and save you money.
As many providers have recently ceased to exist, themselves victims of the rising costs in energy, naturally the options to switch are decreasing also.
Quick tips to save money on energy bills in Scotland
The Energy Saving Trust published a list of 10 tips that can help you save money on your electric and gas bills.
While we’re all responsible for the energy in our homes; whether we own our own homes or rent. Whether we live in student accommodation or live at home with our parents.
1. Switch off standby
You can save around £55 a year just by remembering to turn your appliances off standby mode.
Almost all electrical appliances can be turned off at the plug without upsetting their programming. You may want to think about getting a standby saver or smart plug which allows you to turn all your appliances off standby in one go.
Check the instructions for any appliances you aren’t sure about. Some satellite and digital TV recorders may need to be left plugged in so they can keep track of any programmes you want to record.
2. Draught-proof windows and doors
Unless your home is very new, you will lose some heat through draughts around doors and windows, gaps around the floor, or through the chimney.
Professional draught-proofing of windows, doors and blocking cracks in floors and skirting boards can cost around £200, but can save around £40 a year on energy bills. DIY draught proofing can be much cheaper.
3. Turn off lights
Turn your lights off when you’re not using them or when you leave a room. This will save you around £20 a year on your annual energy bills.
Replacing all the lights in your home with LED bulbs could help you save even more.
4. Careful with your washing
You can save around £28 a year from your energy bill just by using your washing machine more carefully:
- Use your washing machine on a 30-degree cycle instead of higher temperatures.
- Reduce your washing machine use by one run per week for a year.
5. Avoid the tumble dryer
Avoid using a tumble dryer for your clothes: dry clothes on racks inside where possible or outside in warmer weather to save £55 a year.
6. Spend less time in the shower
Keeping your shower time to just 4 minutes could save a typical household £65 a year on their energy bills.
7. Swap your bath for a shower
Some of us might enjoy a long soak in the bath, but swapping just one bath a week with a 4-minute shower could save you £11 a year on your energy bills.
8. Be savvy in the kitchen
Kettles are one of the most used appliances in the kitchen. But many of us will admit that we at least occasionally boil the kettle with more water than we’re going to use.
Avoid overfilling the kettle and save yourself £11 a year on your electricity bill.
You could also consider fitting an aerator onto your existing kitchen tap to reduce the amount of water coming out without affecting how it washes or rinses.
An aerator is a small gadget with tiny holes. they attach to the spout of taps and are cheap and easy to install – and could save you £22 a year.
9. Fill your dishwasher
Only run your dishwasher when it is full to reduce the amount of water you use. Reducing your dishwasher use by one run per week for a year could save you £14.
10. Top up the insulation
Effective insulation of your hot water cylinder is important: even if you have thin spray foam or a loose 25mm jacket, you can benefit from increasing the insulation to a British Standard Jacket 80mm thick, saving £35 a year in the process.
Insulating your water tank, pipes and radiators is a quick and easy way to save money on your bills.
Help with funding
Home Energy Scotland can help you access funding to improve your home’s energy efficiency.
You may also find it useful to check any benefits that you are entitled to using the Scottish government’s benefits calculator tool.
Help to repay unaffordable debt in Scotland
It is important to understand that some bills are more important than others. Known as priority bills, you should pay these bills first and a current utility bill is indeed a priority bill and should be paid before your other debts such as credit cards and payday loan debts for example.
If you feel like you’re really struggling with unaffordable debts – Don’t worry. You’re not alone.
Trust Deed Scotland® have helped thousands of people in Scotland become debt free since 2009. We have dealt with cases that included council tax arrears, credit card debts and payday loans.
We’ve successfully prevented and lifted creditor enforcement actions such as Wage Arrestments.
Whatever the cause of your money problems, Trust Deed Scotland® can help you to understand your options, find a solution and let you focus on life after debt.
Contact us on 0141 221 0999, or start by simply using our debt calculator tool online to quickly check what your options may look like.