How to save energy during Daylight Saving Time
Soaring energy prices and rapid rises in the cost of living mean it's been another tough winter for many households. And the bad news is that things are about to get worse as the energy price cap increase kicks in on April 1.
One small positive is that this Sunday (March 20) is officially the first day of spring, and then next weeked will see the clocks go forward, meaning we can soon start enjoying longer days and warmer weather as Daylight Saving Time begins.
The better weather means we need less energy to light and heat our homes. Here's how you can take advantage to help lower your energy bills.
When do the clocks change each year?
Although dates for Daylight Saving Time in the UK change each year, they do follow a pattern.
Spring (clocks go forward)
The clocks go forward one hour at 1am on the last Sunday in March. This moves us to Daylight Saving Time or British Summer Time (BST). At first, this means it’s darker for longer in the morning, but lighter in the evening, but as we move into summer both the mornings and evenings are light – the longest day of the year has around 16.5 hours of daylight.
In 2022, the clocks go forward an hour at 1am on Sunday, March 27.
Autumn (clocks go back)
The clocks go back one hour at 2am on the last Sunday in October. When the clocks go back, the UK moves back on Greenwich Mean Time (GMT), which makes it lighter earlier in the morning, but darker earlier in the evening. As we move into mid-winter, daylight hours are dramatically reduced, with fewer than eight hours daylight during the winter solstice on December 21.
In 2022, the clocks go back an hour at 2am on Sunday, October 30.
Here are three simple ways to help cut your energy bills when the clocks go forward.
Three simple ways to save energy when the clocks go forward
1. Compare energy prices
Energy price rises are as inevitable as the changing of the seasons, but things are different this year. A combination of the energy crisis and the Ukraine conflict mean energy prices are unpredicatble and volatile.
This has seen domestic suppliers pull their prices as they can't offer rates that are less than the level of the price cap. But now the new price cap is due to kick in, it's worth comparing energy prices once again.
But, to make matters more complicated, you need to keep one eye on the next price cap review in August, when it's expected that prices will rise again. If you can find a deal that looks like it might be competitive by the next review, it's worth considering.
Given that the October price cap is expected to increase by another 25%, it could be worth switching to a new deal that's no more than 15% higher than the April price cap.
If you're a business energy supplier, the rules are different. There's no price cap on commercial energy, so it makes sense to sign up to a new deal when your switching window opens to lock in rates as soon as possible.
If you're hanging on for a price drop, you could be waiting a long time (and losing a lot of money) as Chris O'Shea, chief executive of British Gas owner Centrica, said: "The market suggests the high gas prices will be here for the next 18 months to two years"
For more information, check out the Bionic blog on rising business energy prices.
How to switch energy supplierHow to switch energy supplier with UKPower. Simply enter your postcode and we'll compare energy prices from a range of suppliers. You then choose the one you prefer and we'll take care of the rest.
2. Reset your thermostats
Make sure you reset your thermostats to reflect the warmer weather – dropping the heat by just 1°C can see you make a significant savings on your energy bills. And don’t forget to reset any thermostat timers – more sunlight means your house will naturally be warmer and lighter, so you’ll not need the heating on as much, if at all.
If you’re on Economy 7, remember your meter might not change for Daylight Saving Time, and stay on GMT all year round. This means that when the clocks go forward, the time on your Economy 7 meter might not match the actual time, so to take advantage of the discounted rates, you’ll need to run your appliances based on the times showed on the meter.
3. Embrace the great outdoors
Make sure you take full advantage of the warmer weather at meal times by firing up the barbecue instead of the oven, and line-dry clothes instead of using the dryer – every little helps when it comes to cutting the cost of your energy bills.
And less time spent indoors means less money spent on your energy bills, so swerve those nights in front of the telly and embrace the great outdoors by taking a bike ride around the park or a walk along the beach instead.
Click here to run an energy price comparison, and see if you could be paying less for your gas and electricity.