Mum-of-four shares ‘good’ tool to ‘see the difference’ on family’s energy bills | Personal Finance | Finance


The mum from West Yorkshire says she uses cashback sites to minimise the costs of her online purchases. She also keeps her spending as low as possible at the supermarket by keeping an eye out for cheaper own-brand products.

To keep the family’s energy bills low, Ms Holdsworth turns down the radiators in little-used rooms in her home.

She also keeps tabs on their usage using their smart meter, which shows how much energy the home has used that day.

She said: “We have a smart meter, and find it’s good for seeing exactly when you’ve remembered to use the eco-settings on your appliances – you can really see the difference.

“We’ve had ours for about two years now, and it gives you the incentive to remember to use eco-settings and it also helps remind you not to leave things on standby.

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“We’d always look to have one, if we moved it would be a priority to get one – and as the children get older it’s only going to get more and more expensive.”

Smart meters also send automatic readings to a household’s energy supplier, meaning they will get accurate bills without having to take manual meter readings.

A smart meter can go into ‘dumb mode’, when it no longer provides real-time readings. There is a tool on the Citizens Advice website which consumers can use to check if their smart meter has gone into ‘dumb mode’.

New research from Smart Energy GB found 84 percent of Britons have a good idea how much money they spend on household bills.


Yet more than half of those polled said they had been caught off guard by unexpectedly high energy bills.

Almost three quarters of those with a smart meter said it helped them be more aware of their energy usage.

Victoria Bacon, a director at Smart Energy GB, said: “With bills remaining high for many going into the new year, it’s not surprising people are making plans to help offset the rising cost of living in 2023.

“Getting a smart meter installed, at no additional cost, can be an effective way to manage your energy use. Its in-home display provides you with information in near-real time and in pounds and pence, allowing you to make informed choices about where to save.”

READ MORE: Three key ways people can structure their budget in 2023 to ‘avoid financial stress’

More than half of those surveyed said they expect 2023 to be the hardest year they have ever faced when it comes to their finances.

Average energy bills are set to go up to £3,000 a year in April, when the Government’s Energy Price Guarantee increases.

The timeframe for the guarantee at this higher level will remain for 12 months, from April 2023.

The guarantee protects consumers from being hit by the energy price cap set by regulator Ofcom, which is set to rise to an annual level of £4,279 this month.

Helen Morrissey, a senior pensions and retirement analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, warned that households “could see prices rise even further”.

She explained: “April is going to see all sorts of prices rise, and higher energy prices are going to be particularly painful with the Energy Price Guarantee expected to hit £3,000.

“And it’s worth bearing in mind that this isn’t a fixed cap on the most you can pay: it’s a cap on prices for the average user.

“If you burn through more energy, or live in a large or inefficient house, you could see prices rise even further.”

All UK households with a domestic energy supply are receiving a £400 energy bills discount this winter.

The money is being paid in six instalments, with £67 instalments to be paid each month for the next three months.


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