The price of energy…
If you have read the news recently you may have noticed the country is going through a bit of an ‘energy crisis’. The energy price cap (the maximum that you can pay for energy) is going to increase by 54% in April. In fact, the price of energy right now is so high that you could end up paying that much more.
Guess what’s not going up 54% in April? Our student loans, grants, and wages.
In fact – can anyone even afford energy now? Is anyone else becoming a bit like their parents, really concerned about the thermostat and lighting?
‘It’s like Blackpool Illuminations in here’ – every parent ever, since the birth of electricity, and now me.
So what can we do? I can’t claim to have the solution to all of this, I’m a Student Adviser not a politician, but I do have some handy tips to try and keep your usage as low as feasibly possible. It might not make a massive difference, but it’s a start.
- Check your lightbulbs
How many students does it take to change a… ah I won’t even go there. Check and see if your lightbulbs are LED ones. These use the least energy, in comparison to old filament bulbs and the florescent old-style ‘energy saving’ ones. If they’re not LED – change them out!
You know, back in my day it was all about the fairy lights.
2. Cool down your washing cycle
Most detergents on the market are perfectly happy at 30 degrees, and if your washing machine doesn’t have to heat up as much, it will use less power. If you’re not already, turn down the heat in the washer and see how your clothes come out.
If you’re a healthcare student however, don’t wash your uniform/clinical wear at 30 degrees – it’s not best practice. The NHS says that a 60 degree wash will kill almost all bacteria in just 10 mins – so why not wash your non-clinical items at 30 on a regular cycle, then do a quick wash at 60 for your (non-soiled) clinical wear instead of a long cycle to save some energy?
3. Avoid the Tumble Dryer
This might be controversial, I’m not sure. However, if you can avoid the tumble dryer or at least reduce your usage, not only will you save on energy costs (heating things up electrically costs loads) but your clothes will last longer too, which means less cash spent there.
RIP fluffy towels
4. Spend less time in the shower
I am not going to recommend a ‘3-minute shower’ or a cold one because uh… Love yourself. But if you’re currently a member of the long hot shower club, it might be time to hand that card in. Use it to think? Try meditation. Shower karaoke artist? Why not drive your housemates mad by singing the rest of the time as well?
5. Become a central heating wizard
Okay, news flash – your thermostat should actually change the temperature of the house. (You joke, but too many people have told me they thought it did nothing) Turn it down, and put a jumper on instead. Live the cozy life.
Bonus tip – the Energy Saving Trust reckon it’s cheaper to only heat your house when you need it heated, so you should set the boiler timer to only heat when required. Personally, I turn mine off at night. It’s actually easier to sleep in a cool room.
Advice does not apply to student halls. There is only over heating related suffering. Good luck. (Source: me)
6. Just say no to electric heaters
Look I get it. Toasty vibes. But it’s the least efficient way to heat… pretty much anything. Not to mention the massive fire risk they pose. You may as well burn the cash – literally (read: figuratively). Throw ‘em out, along with the heated blankets!
7. Drafts (not the essay kind)
Drafts can really impact your heating potential. Check around your doors to see if cold air is coming in from outside and either make or buy a draft excluder. Keep the heat in!
8. Boil what you need, for speed
You don’t need to always run a full kettle for one cup of tea/coffee/hot choc/pot noodle/whatever. Not only does it take way longer, but it also uses more unnecessary power.
9. Get your fees worth!
Public health permitting, use the computers at Uni when you can. They’re for you to use. While most modern computers are as energy efficient as possible, they can still use a fair bit and Uni PCs are free.
CompSci don’t need central heating, only their PC fan exhaust
10. When all else has failed, speak to your energy provider and seek help
If it’s costing too much, or you’re already in debt to your energy provider, speak to them as soon as possible! They have to help you try and find a solution, and you can ask for a payment plan to try and reduce the cost to a level you can afford.
You can also consider the Hardship Fund, or a charitable grant to help. If you’re in receipt of the NHS Learning Support Fund, there’s the Exceptional Support Fund if the Hardship Fund can’t help. We can help with any of these, and also check you’re getting all the help you’re entitled to.