Where ever you live in the UK from the far north to your location and all the way to the south, energy suppliers are a constant cause of stress and financial drain. We all want to pay less for our energy but with costs and tariffs changing all the time, it can be very difficult to make the right decision. This page will point you in the right direction for help in Ealing and much more.
When people are looking for ways to reduce expenses or make better use of their money, they often look at common household expenses like utilities, subscriptions and even those associated with entertainment and recreation. The biggest monthly outgoing is usually food and energy bills.
In order to get the best gas and electricity deals available you need to understand how the gas and electricity suppliers are set up and how they calculate your bills. Many people don’t have a clue about the structure of the utility market in the UK and as a consequence end up spending way over the odds for their heating and lighting.
If you are looking for a better deal on your utilities then it’s pretty likely you were not too happy with your last bill. Especially in these tough economic times, you need to make sure you are not paying more than you have to. Just recently there have been further reports in the press of how the wholesale price of fuels is coming down yet the suppliers are not passing on these savings to their customers.
The easiest way to find the best gas and electricity for your area is to use a price comparison website, this takes all the guesswork, sales hype and confusion out of the process and lets your quickly see who can give you a better deal. I have consistently found energylinx to get the best prices and I would recommend you check them out. Utility bills often have a high monthly price, and reducing your spending on this can mean having more money that you can allocate toward other things.
You might also want to consider downsizing your lawn by using more hard surfaces to reduce electricity use with your lawnmower. Or perhaps you use a timer for your winter heating when leaving the heat on at a low level has been shown to reduce consumption. Cooking individual meals for families that could eat together is also an energy waste that can be recovered. Installing solar panels can produce energy for use in your home but the amount generated and the saving made depends on the position of your home and the time scale you need to recover the initial outlay. New smart meters claim to save you money by making you more aware of the energy you consume each day. However, these are not available everywhere in the country and there have been some issues with the technology.
After covering saving energy used for cooking and heating water in your home or office, we can make the transition to reducing the amount of electricity used for refrigeration, washing and lighting. Remember, up to 25% of total energy consumption in a home comes from these three areas. But don’t feel overwhelmed. Here are a few easy to implement strategies that can save on energy bills going forward.
Start With Heating.
The lowest cost method for reducing consumption is utilising programmable thermostats. Every degree that you adjust by equal a 4–5% reduction in energy usage for that system. Also, don’t forget to program thermostats to turn on and off at the proper times and you will begin to see a reduction in usage. Add strip curtains and automatic door closers to walks ins and Installing ECM’s on evaporator and condenser fans can reduce usage by approximately 2/3rds. On the lighting side, you have options as well. Start by adding occupancy sensors in select areas such as closets, storage rooms, staff bathrooms, etc. Also adding high-efficiency LED bulbs can reduce lighting consumption by up to 50%. Many utilities will cover a percentage (my local utility covers up to 70%) of the cost to purchase the bulbs, significantly improving ROI.
By implementing these simple strategies we have covered, you are well on your way to energy savings by reducing consumption which is a key element in any energy management plan.
How Can Small Businesses Save on Their Energy?
(A little from each one of us means a lot for our planet).
Today there are various ways to help save our planet and generate our own electricity. Wind power, solar power and so on. The information is readily available all around the globe. Many countries have great incentives and power companies will buy the energy you produce but one thing is for sure: you have to make the initial investment yourself, whether it's through a loan or from your own savings. It is one of the best investments today and the payback period is relatively short.
But there are many ways that we can save on our energy costs within our own home without spending a dime:
Here are some great energy saving tips:
Replace Incandescent Bulbs - Old fashioned, incandescent bulbs are a huge money waster, both in energy and in the cost of the bulbs. Modern fluorescent bulbs can last up to 5 years and use a fraction of the energy. If you're aiming for even bigger savings, go with LED light bulbs, which can last twenty-five times longer than incandescent bulbs and use even less energy than fluorescents.
Unplug Your Devices - Most people figure that when they hit the power button, their appliance or electronic stops sucking juice from the wall. Unfortunately, it doesn't really work like that. Electricity may not be flowing and getting consumed, but it is very much being used. So, don't just turn your devices off, unplug them when not in use.
Turn Off Lights - This is a simple one that you've likely heard since you were ten years old. Turn the lights off when not in the room. I'll do it one further. Turn them off at all times unless you specifically need that light to do something.
Use Power Strips to Control Use - Use power strips on every outlet that you can. They not only reduce direct energy use, they allow you to turn off the power being used without having to unplug every appliance individually. It's also a good idea to have power strips to avoid surges that can harm your devices.
Don't Idle Your Car Unnecessarily - Idling a car wastes gasoline. Most cars can be warmed up by driving them. Instead of sitting in your car and idling without moving, drive it to warm it up while not on the highway. Additionally, avoid city streets whenever possible to improve gas mileage.
Tune Up Your Car Regularly - Regular tune ups and oil changes in your car will improve gas mileage and reduce the need for costly repairs. Even if you have a new car with no problems, make sure you stick to your regular maintenance schedule to reduce potentially massive bills.
Reduce Weight in the Car - Take out any unnecessary weight from your trunk or back seat. Extra weight reduces gas mileage and slows your car down, also putting a heavier burden on the engine which can cost you later.
Have Your Home Inspected - Have someone take a look at your home to find any leaks, insulation problems, old wiring, or other energy wasting issues. Many times, energy draining issues can be masked by walls, flooring, or a simple lack of knowledge. Look for an impartial third party that won't try to sell you on unnecessary repairs.
Saving More On Energy Costs For Residents of Ealing
Energy Saving Tips in The Home
What is Electricity?
Essentially, there are two kinds of Electricity: Static Electricity and Current Electricity. Both depend on electrons, the tiny charged particles that orbit the nucleus of an atom.
Static Electricity has been known about since earliest times, though it was not properly understood until the discovery of subatomic particles a little over a hundred years ago.
Static Electricity on a large scale causes lightning and on a much smaller scale can give you an annoying shock when you step out of a car. You can generate it simply by combing your hair with a nylon comb. The electrical charge transferred to the comb will cause it to attract the hair, or, if you like, to pick up little scraps of paper to entertain the kids.
Though interesting, static electricity is of limited practical use. For the remainder of this hub, we'll concentrate on current electricity which is a flow of electrons through a conductor (usually a copper cable).
The Modern Alternator
Faraday's electrical machines were laboratory experiments. Technology has developed his ideas dramatically. The modern alternator does not use permanent magnets but an energised coil instead, to produce the magnetic field. Also, his invention has been turned inside out, with the field coils mounted on the armature (now called the rotor) and the electrical current induced on the stationary coils (the stator). There are normally three stationary windings in the stator, spaced 120° apart, to produce 3-phase alternating current, the modern standard for distribution.
A Little Science
But first, we need to talk a bit about Energy. In Physics, Energy is defined as the ability to do Work. (Everyday examples of Work are: climbing stairs, loading a truck. anything that involves moving mass).
Some of the common types of energy are: heat, light, kinetic energy (movement), chemical energy, gravitational energy and of course. electrical energy.
In Physics, the Law of Conservation of Energy says that energy cannot be created or destroyed. It can only be transformed from one type to another. This means that to generate electricity, we have to use another kind of energy to fuel the process - in this World you don't get something for nothing!
In the 19th Century, Michael Faraday carried out the pioneering work that linked Electricity and Magnetism. In particular, he showed that an electrical current is generated in a conductor moving in a magnetic field.
The effect is greatly magnified if the conductor is replaced with a coil or coils of copper wire. If these coils are mounted on a rotating shaft or armature, continuous rotation will produce a continuous alternating electrical current. This is how nearly all electricity is generated today.
Now that we have a device (the generator, or alternator) that converts mechanical energy (rotation) into electrical energy, the next problem is how to obtain the mechanical energy to keep the alternator spinning. Here is a brief summary of some of the viable ways of generating electricity on a commercial scale.
The Commercial Options
In a coal or oil fired power station, the fuel is burned (converting its chemical energy into heat) and the heat used to convert water into steam at very high temperature and pressure. This then drives a steam turbine, a device which harnesses the energy in the steam (heat and pressure) to produce rotational movement (mechanical energy). The rotating shaft of the steam turbine is coupled to the armature of the alternator, so the final result is electricity.
Windmills have been around for centuries and all have harnessed the energy of moving air (wind!) through rotating sails or fan blades. Traditionally, the mechanical energy was used directly, to turn a mill wheel. A modern wind turbine simply couples the rotating shaft to an alternator armature. The last link in the chain is always the same - electricity from mechanical rotation.
Hydro Electric Power
Here, the source energy (there always has to be one!) is gravitational potential energy. A mountain stream is dammed in a high place, to create an artificial lake or reservoir. Farther down the mountain, the power station is equipped with water turbines. These are simply highly efficient versions of the old fashioned water-wheel; effectively they harness the kinetic energy of a carefully channelled waterfall to produce mechanical rotation. The rest you know.
Tidal Power and Wave Power
These new technologies extract energy from the long-term bulk movement of water in a tidal estuary and from the short-term wave motion of the surface. The principle remains the same, to harness the 'free' natural energy in moving water to drive a mechanical turbine.
Solar Power - local
In a sense. all energy on Earth is solar energy, as even fossil fuels are chemical 'memories' of ancient sunshine. But we're talking here about generating electricity from solar energy, and strangely enough, it's not very easy. The problem is that you can't easily convert sunshine into mechanical rotation to drive alternators on a commercial scale. Solar panels have no moving parts, and so the electricity they produce is 'DC' or direct current. This is like the electricity from a battery. It's great for local use, e.g. running a small irrigation pump, but the big problem with DC is that it is hard to distribute. (No time to explain that now - maybe another hub!)
Solar Power - commercial
Photovoltaic units, as described above, are best suited to localised applications like space or water heating. However, commercial-scale solar power plants, though still expensive to build, are becoming viable, the more so as the price of fossil fuels increases.
No single design for commercial solar power has yet won through, but all are based on the same idea - a large array of reflectors to collect the sun's rays and focus them onto a receiver which is effectively pipe-work containing a heat-absorbing fluid. Technologies are already well developed to store the collected energy as heat and to convert it to electricity using steam or gas turbines at a steady rate, night and day. The biggest problem is that the sun moves (OK, the Earth rotates!) and so ingenious tracking mechanisms are needed to make the reflectors follow the sun through the daylight hours.
Ironically, the part of the world best suited for deploying this technology is the part that least needs it - the oil rich deserts of the Middle East.
This is another underdeveloped source. If you drill down into the Earth's crust, at first the temperature drops, because the sun's warmth can't penetrate. But deeper, the temperature rises. Volcanoes are evidence of this - molten lava is pretty hot! That well of energy is there to be tapped. As always, the final conversion process is the familiar steam turbine. And, like solar energy, it is environmentally friendly, provided you don't accidentally trigger a local volcano! But it is not as simple as it seems. The process of taking heat from a hot rock cools the rock locally. There's plenty more heat surrounding it, but can it flow quickly enough to your collectors? Again, it's another technology whose time will come, but not a panacaea.
This is the controversial one. Nuclear fission is a process in which unstable (radioactive) atomic nuclei break down, releasing energy in the form of radiation (escaping particles). By concentrating these nuclei together, a controlled chain recation is produced releasing huge amounts of energy which is used to convert water into steam. The process of generating electricity in a nuclear power plant is simply by steam turbine, exactly the same as in a fossil fuel plant. The public fear of nuclear power is twofold: the risk of meltdown - an uncontrolled nuclear reactor is not very different from an 'atomic' bomb; also the by-product, radioactive nuclear waste, is none too pleasant.
As an aside - Nuclear energy does not obey the classical Physics law of conservation of Energy. It does however obey the Modern Physics law of conservation of Mass-Energy which allows for interconversion of matter and energy according to Einstein's famous equation E=mc² This fundamental difference means that Nuclear Energy is potentially the most fruitful source of all. It is important that proper scientific research & development into nuclear energy, and Nuclear Fusion in particular, should be allowed to continue.
If your local Utility company is one of the big six energy suppliers you probably aren’t getting the best deal possible. Most of the cheaper tariffs are offered by smaller, often unfamiliar companies. These are typically hidden or don’t feature prominently on the major energy comparison websites that compare the market.
Britain’s Broken Broadband and Energy NetworkLucy Symons, Director of Public Policy at Open Energi calls on policy makers to make regulation fit for purpose
This winter, the UK is expecting high demand for electricity supply and an increase in costs. Renewable power sources are starting to fill the gap left behind by closing coal power stations, but they generate more when the sun shines or the wind blows and are not necessarily available when people turn on their televisions in the evenings.
National Grid pays gas and coal plants and diesel farms to turn up or down their supply whenever there’s an increase or decrease in demand for electricity. This winter alone, keeping power plants going for peak demand is forecast to cost consumers £122 million, while an estimated £800 million in subsidies may be awarded to diesel projects under the Government’s Capacity Market. This is expensive, slow and not very green. Energy prices and security of supply are top political priorities, but when it takes four years and a lot of money to build a power station, there needs to be a more efficient solution.
The good news is that Great Britain has a thriving energy technology sector with a vast portfolio of innovations that can step up to this immediate challenge. Open Energi, a dynamic UK tech firm, uses technology to link together more than 3,000 machines — like air conditioners in your local supermarket or the pumps moving our water — and switches these machines on or off during the day to make power available when it’s needed by consumers, or to store electricity after a big gust of wind. This technology is already installed at over 350 industrial and commercial sites across the UK including Sainsbury’s, Tarmac, Aggregate Industries, United Utilities and University of East Anglia. Developed right here in Britain, this is powerful technology. On cold winter evenings, it can function just like an entire nuclear plant. Demand flexibility is the first line of defence in an energy security crisis, which is characterised by successive power plant failures rather than a lack of supply.
But this ‘demand-side’ energy tech faces major barriers in UK energy markets. Companies like Open Energi cannot prequalify for the government Capacity Market and cannot compete directly against gas plants in the balancing mechanism. The fast, flexible power they provide is instead only accessible via monthly tenders and procurements. Faced with a national energy security crunch on one hand and with the tech needed to solve it bound only by markets that aren’t fit for purpose, there is an immediate opportunity to unleash competition. Unlike other energy projects, demand flexibility requires no state subsidy at all. All that we ask at Open Energi is that the regulations are updated to ensure ‘demand side’ (when we turn demand up and down) is given the same treatment as ‘supply side’ (when new power is generated) in the existing energy markets.
Deploying demand flexibility and storage at speed to solve an energy crunch at scale is a proven path. In 2015, Californian policymakers were faced with a shutdown at the state’s biggest gas storage facility, threatening peak shortages and blackouts. To solve this immediate challenge with an immediately available solution, policy-makers fast-tracked 64.5MW of electricity storage and approved $11.5 million for demand response and dynamic pricing. Energy storage projects were constructed in less than four months, compared to a previous average of three and a half years.
Applying the same market mechanisms in the UK could dramatically change the game for energy security on the GB grid as early as next winter. With over 1GW of energy storage prequalified for National Grid’s recent Enhanced Frequency Response tender, of which only 200MW was purchased, it’s clear we have the appetite from investors to bring innovation to market. The challenge now rests with policy makers to make regulation fit for purpose in a modern age of energy technology innovation.
Lucy Symons is the Director of Public Policy for @openenergi and recently travelled to California as part of a delegation of female founders leading some of the UK’s fastest growing tech firms.
Energy suppliers are feeling increased pressure from the government to regulate and lower the cost of their fuel prices, after three of the big six energy suppliers have raised their energy prices once again by 20%.
The companies have all blamed the rise in gas prices on the rise in the wholesaler's prices.
The first thing to understand is that these companies we pay for our gas and electric bills, rarely produce the energy themselves. Like any other retailer, they buy their product from a wholesaler.
Q: If we check how much wholesalers are selling their fuel for, will it show if energy suppliers are justified in their high fuel prices?
If only it was that simple!
There are a lot of energy prices on the market, and they change every day, therefore the cost will differentiate when supply and demand goes up and down.
Wholesale prices are set at which period or season they are selling for. For example, a wholesaler and energy company may strike up a deal called 'winter 2017'. The energy firm is agreeing to buy gas to be shipped to them throughout October to March.
More expenses and pay outs are unlikely to do the economy any good.
Q: why doesn't the existing competition lower prices anyway?
Tariffs are still likely to mirror each other. Every time one supplier announces a price hike, it becomes easier for others to do the same, similar to how the cost of petrol can fluctuate so easily.
What you have to remember is that the 'big six' energy companies are trying like the rest of the economy, to make money, and that they'll be playing the field to get the best prices and stay on top of the market just like any other profit driven firm.
As a vocational training provider of plumbing, electrical and gas courses to people throughout the UK we inform our trainees of national news that will affect them and their customers.
So you want to know how to save money on energy bills? Well, the first and most popular way people tend to inflate parts of an energy bill is excessive ignorance. It's simple. People are ignorant when they drive, when they use certain systems at home, and when they use energy in general. The very first thing you must conquer is the amount of energy you do. The mindset is where it starts.
Another thing you'll want to invest in is your own solar grid or windmill to capture your own solar and wind energy. Don't know how? No problem. Earth4Energy can teach you. It's a guide that shows you more than enough ways to cut your energy costs up to 90% and save you thousands of dollars. You will be able to build your own solar grid and windmill. After reading this guide, it wouldn't be so hard.
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