As we get older and the level of our regular income decreases, controlling our gas and electricity costs becomes more and more important. So it is imperative to ensure that senior citizens are paying as little as possible to heat and light their homes. This guide provides ways for older people to ensure that their domestic energy costs remain manageable.
As older people are typically living on a fixed income, a fixed rate energy tariff may be a good choice. This will ensure that you are protected in the short term against any unforeseen price rises. See our fixed rate tariffs page for more information on these.
Also it is worth understanding that energy companies provide discounts for taking both gas and electricity together (dual fuel) and also for paying via Monthly Direct Debit - many elderly customers prefer to pay on receipt of bill but this is not the cheapest option. There are also discounts available for managing your energy account and receiving your bill online – although understandably this may well not be suitable for many older customers.
As always, the best advice is to compare the whole energy market to find the cheapest and most suitable tariff for your personal circumstances. You can do this by entering your postcode in the box below.
The government offers a winter fuel allowance to anybody over the age of 60 of between £100 and £300 tax-free to help with the cost of energy bills in the winter months. There are a few exceptions and criteria to this so to check if you qualify or to find out how to claim this allowance visit https://www.gov.uk/winter-fuel-payment/overview
As well as ensuring you are on the cheapest and most suitable gas and electricity tariff available to you, it is also important to consider how you can keep your energy 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 the amount of energy you require to heat your house will be extremely high. There are essentially two types of home insulation to consider, loft insulation and cavity wall insulation. Loft insulation reduces the amount of heat lost through the roof of your property and is easily installed by laying down sheets of insulating material in the loft space of your property.
Properties built after 1920 will typically 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 through the walls of the property. 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 energy supplier and ask them about insulation for the over 70’s.
Other things to consider when thinking about reducing your energy consumption are lighting and appliances. Ensure all lighting throughout your house is provided by energy saving bulbs. These bulbs typically use around 80% less energy than regular bulbs. And it goes without saying; ensure that lights are turned off when not in use.
Appliances can also consume a lot of energy and a particularly unnecessary drain are appliances left on standby such as televisions and stereos. When in standby mode these are still consuming energy and 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.