Gas and electricity for older people

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We know that as the elderly move through life and their level of regular income decreases, controlling gas and electricity cost becomes more important. Knowing how much they are paying on a monthly basis is crucial information as those in retirement usually have a fixed level of income. What we ideally want is for senior citizens to be paying as little as they can for the energy they use, no matter how much power that may be.

This guide aims to help get the best energy prices for pensioners, to make sure costs remain manageable for all, and help stop older householders falling into energy debt or even fuel poverty.

What are the best gas and electricity tariffs for pensioners?

Pensioners often live on a fixed income, so getting the best gas and electricity deals for is really important. A fixed rate energy tariff is usually a good choice, as type of plan gives peace of mind and a level of predictability that allows for planning costs and outgoings. If you want more information, take a look at our fixed tariff page.

Although there are no specific tariffs that offer cheap gas and electricity for pensioners, signing up for a dual fuel tariff, where the same company supplies both gas and electricity, is often cheaper as suppliers offer discounts for having both accounts.

Energy suppliers also offer discounts for paying by monthly Direct Debit, and although many elderly customers may prefer to pay on receipt of bill, setting up a regular payment that comes straight your account is a cheaper way to pay. To save the most money, setting up a monthly plan is the way to go.

There are also cost reductions available for receiving your energy bill online.

As ever, the best advice is run a quick energy comparison to find the best deal you can. It takes a small amount of time, but it will save you money. You can start this journey by entering your postcode at the top of the page.

What energy grants and benefits are available?

There are a number of grant, schemes and gas and electricity discounts for pensioners and elderly customers, including:

  • Warm Home Discount Scheme
  • Cold Weather Payments
  • Fuel Direct Scheme
  • Social Energy Tariffs

For more information on these benefits, check out Energy for vulnerable and disabled customers.

How to keep your energy costs down

As well as going the extra mile to make sure your tariff suits you, you also need to consider how you can keep your usage to a minimum.

The first thing to think about is the energy efficiency of your home. If your walls and roof aren’t insulated then you’ll need more energy to heat your house, meaning your bills will be higher.

There are two types of home insulation to consider:

  • Loft insulation - This reduces the amount of heat you lose through the roof of your home, and is really easy to install. All you need to do is lay insulation material on the floor of your loft and you’re good as gold.
  • Wall insulation – The type of wall insulation you need will depend on whether you have cavity walls or solid walls. Properties built after 1920 will usually have been built with a gap between the external walls. A small hole can be drilled into the wall and this cavity can be filled with an insulating material to reduce heat loss. For the over 70’s, both loft and cavity wall insulation can be provided for free by your energy supplier. To find out if you qualify you’ll need to speak with your provider and ask them about insulation cover for the over 70’s. For information on solid wall insulation, check out our guide, here.

Lights and appliances are other energy-sapping devices. Ensuring all lighting throughout your house comes from energy-saving bulbs will help reduce the cost. These bulbs typically use around 80% less energy than regular bulbs. As a simple tip, make sure all lights are off when not in use. It might be obvious, but it makes a huge difference.

Stand-by on electronics is a huge waste of energy, so make sure when turning your appliances off, you do so at the point of use, not by remote. When in standby mode these are still consuming energy. It is estimated that around 8% of all domestic energy usage in Britain is as a result of devices in standby mode. For more energy saving tips, take a look at our energy saving checklist.