As part of its Be The Change campaign, Swindon Borough Council has released some advice on how to get ahead of energy price increases.
Many households saw their energy bills rise last October after Ofgem (the UK’s independent energy regulator) increased the energy price cap by £139 a year.
The council say that this month, it is expected that Ofgem will announce further rises to the price cap which will take effect from April.
In the past, consumers have been encouraged to shop around when energy bills rise, but the council says the best way for people to save money on their energy bills is by improving the energy efficiency of their home.
For residents who have a gross household income of less than £30,000 a year and live in a home with a low energy performance rating (EPC E, F or G), support is available.
Swindon Borough Council say if you meet the above criteria, it is likely you are eligible for up to £10,000 of energy efficiency improvements for your home. This could include measures such as solar panels and insulation.
A number of households in Swindon have already benefited from this funding. More information on how to submit an application can be found at www.swindonwiltshire-lad-applications.com or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
The council says for those that do not meet the criteria, the good news is there are other steps to take to squeeze your energy bills while also reducing your impact on the planet:
1. Save £28 a year by cutting back on washing machine and dishwasher use by one cycle a week, and only filling your kettle with the water you need.
2. Cut your shower time down by just one minute and make a sizable dent in your bills. If everyone in a four-person household with a water meter did this, it could see you save £50 a year.
3. Turn your appliances off instead of leaving them on standby or on idle mode. Not only will you be conserving energy, you could also save yourself £40 a year.
4. Don’t forget to turn the lights off when you’re not using them. It might sound simple but it could save you £14 a year on your bills.
5. Replace the bulbs in your home with energy-efficient LEDs. For an average household, the initial cost of doing this would be £145, but you’ll then save £35 a year on your bills.
A spokesperson for the council added: "Fortunately it’s been a mild winter so far, but if you are struggling to pay your fuel bills or you’re finding it difficult to keep your home warm, contact Warm and Safe Wiltshire on freephone 0800 038 5722 to speak to an energy advisor."
Further energy saving advice can be found by getting in touch with the national Government endorsed Simple Energy Advice service on freephone 0800 444 202, or by visiting the Be the Change webpages www.swindon.gov.uk/bethechange