BY JOHN ELLIS, FINANCIAL ADVISOR
Believe it or not wholesale gas prices are falling but there’s no guarantee that energy bills will drop soon for households. Businesses are to get an average of 10% reduction on their electricity bills and an average of 15% on gas from March. In a previous column I gave an overview on why the cost of energy was not immediate for households.
This has caused some comment in the media and Minister Simon Coveney rightly said that household customers would rightly be questioning the approach by Electric Ireland. He said: “Of course, it’s welcome for businesses that electricity prices are going down by 10% and gas prices by 15%. But I think many households listening to that story on the radio will be asking themselves why isn’t that applying to my bill? And I think that is a fair question,” he said.
As we the householders wait, we can still make some adjustments to reduce our outgoings. So here are five everyday swaps to save on energy bills courtesy of switcher.ie
1.Lighten the load Shrink your laundry costs by running one less washing machine cycle a week to save €0.43c a week, that’s more than €22 a year. Set the temp to 30 degrees and fully load your drum to keep washes to a minimum. If your washing machine has an eco-programme, use it to save 30% on energy usage. Save a further €5.19 a week on your weekly laundry when you ditch the dryer. It’s one of the most expensive appliances in our homes, using between 2.5-3 kilowatts an hour (kWh) per hour, so use it sparingly.
2. Cut back shower time Reduce your shower time to 10 mins a day and save up to €2.13 a week. That’s a whopping €111 a year. Turn the thermostat down a notch and save even more. Simply drying your hair for 10 mins, six days a week will set you back 0.65c a week. Towel dry for longer and trim drying time to five minutes to save yourself 0.32c a week and up to €16.64 a year.
3. Meal replacements Swap your electric cooker for smarter appliances that don’t cost the earth. By rustling up dinner in a slow cooker instead of the oven and sizzling sausages in an air fryer instead of on the hob you could save €2.14 a week. If your kettle is conking out, replace it with a rapid boil kettle to save up to 0.93c a week on your cuppa. Together these simple swaps could save you €3.07 a week, or €159.64 a year.
4. Stack ‘em up You can rack up savings by loading your dishwasher to the max and halving your weekly washes. Cut down from four cycles to two and save around €1.30 a week or €67.60 a year. When upgrading household appliances consider exchanging your corded items to cordless, so you only pay for charging time. You could save around €8.84 a year just by swapping your old upright hoover for a nifty cordless model.
5. Ditch or switch Whether you’re working from home, or gaming into the early hours, running a desktop computer could cost you up to £3.50 a week. If possible, ditch the desktop and use a laptop as they’re far more energy efficient and save yourself up to €2.42 a week. And switch your 60 watt bulbs with 5 watt LED bulbs that have the same light output could save you at least €1.33 a week.
Eoin Clarke of Switcher says: “While global gas prices are falling, the drop isn’t raising a smile for consumers just yet, with rising food prices and high energy bills still hitting Irish households where it hurts.
“Our message is reduce and replace wherever possible. Look to tweak your daily routines and if you need a new appliance, always opt for the energy saving choice because those small changes stack up to make big savings.”
It is frustrating to see energy cost increases applied immediately but reductions taking months to be applied if at all. It is up to the minister to get not only an explanation but a commitment from Electric Ireland that a process will be put in place to allow households benefit from the reductions as quickly as businesses.