Top 10 tips to cut your electricity bill

Thomas Karcher runs

With sky-high rents squeezing tenant's budgets, bills are yet another unwelcome expense. However, it is possible to significantly reduce your electricity bill by following our Top 10 electricity saving tips.

1. Check your electricity tariff

As a tenant you are free to switch electricity suppliers without requiring permission from the landlord. Compare tariffs, duel fuel discounts and payment options to ensure you get the best deal.

Please note some agents try and tie tenants into energy deals with a preferred provider. Generation Rent would like to hear if you have been affected by this.

2. Use energy guzzlers less often

Limiting the use of power hungry appliances can have a positive impact on the environment and your wallet. Air-dry clothes instead of using a tumble dryer, fully load your washing machine and lower the temperature setting to 30-40C. Kagoo has a useful running cost calculator that makes it easy to work out how much appliances cost to run.

3. Switch it off

Even better than reducing electricity use is to completely eliminate it. Make sure to turn off lights in unoccupied rooms and unplug mobile phone and laptop chargers that are not being used.

4. Replace light bulbs with LEDs

LED light bulbs have become a lot cheaper in the last few years and are by far the most efficient way to light your home. LEDs use about half as much electricity as an equivalent compact fluorescent bulb and only about 1/9th the energy of an incandescent light bulb, while lasting much longer. Even you are renting it will be worth replacing the light bulbs as the electricity savings will quickly make up for the investment. If you speak to your landlord they might even be willing to cover the cost.

5. Defrost slowly

Take food out of the freezer a day before and let it defrost in the fridge over night. Cooking food from frozen in the oven will take longer and require more electricity.

6. Keep freezers running smoothly

Ice build-up inside the freezer makes it work harder to keep the internal temperature low, consuming more power. Unless you are lucky enough to have a frost-free freezer in your rental property, defrost your freezer every 6 months to remove any ice.

7. Costly comfort

As winter draws in, many people are tempted to top up their central heating with a short boost of warmth. However, keep in mind that electric fan heaters are real energy guzzlers and burn through electricity as fast as your wallet. Instead of using fan heaters, make sure your central heating system works properly and seal gaps around windows and doors to keep cold drafts out.

8. Be careful with electric heating

If you already live in a property that has electric heating, it will almost certainly make up the largest part of your monthly electricity bill. Make sure you only use heating when needed and avoid overheating rooms by keeping the temperature to a comfortable 21C. If you have night storage heaters, check if your electricity supplier offers a cheaper night-time electricity rate.

9. Expensive showers

Rental properties with electric storage heaters often have electric water heaters and power showers installed in the bathroom. Power showers use large amounts of electricity, as the water passing through the unit needs to be heated very quickly. You can save electricity and money by keeping showers brief and lowering the thermostat setting.

10. Choose wisely

The type of property you choose to rent will have a big influence on how much you will have to spend on bills each month. The easiest way for tenants to keep electricity bills to a minimum is to pick a highly energy efficient flat or house to rent. Landlords are required to provide an Energy Performance Certificate to their tenants, which a property from A (best) to G (worst). Some landlords install electric heating to reduce maintenance costs but electricity is the most inefficient and expensive way to heat a home. A rental property with gas central heating powered by an energy efficient boiler will save you a significant amount of money each month.


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Individual Advice

Generation Rent can’t offer advice about individual problems. Here are a few organisations that can:

You might also find quick but informal help on ACORN’s Facebook forum, and there are more suggestions on The Renters Guide.