Energy bills to rise as UK told to work from home
As employees are required to work from home in response to the coronavirus pandemic, household energy bills could increase by as much as £200. Read on to find out what you can do to better manage your energy supply during this time.
As the UK goes on complete lockdown to contain the spread of the coronavirus, millions of residents have no choice but to work from home.
In the Prime Minister’s speech on Monday, 24 March, he announced a ban on travelling to and from work unless it “is absolutely necessary and cannot be done from home.”
While you might save money on commuting, you can expect to pay a bit more for your gas and electricity bills. We break down how much your bills are likely to increase while you work from home, as well as how to save money and what to do if you can’t afford the extra energy costs.
How much will my energy bills increase while working from home?
According to a study from WSP UK, working from home consumes 2,000 kWh of gas and almost 800 kWh of electricity per year.
When compared to typical domestic consumption values from Ofgem, we found that people forced to work from home in response to the coronavirus pandemic can expect their energy consumption to increase by around 17% for gas and 25% for electricity.
If you’re on a Standard Variable Tariff for your gas and electricity, this means working remotely could cost you an additional £16 a month and almost £200 more a year.
Bloomberg reported that working from home will cost domestic consumers across the UK a total of £52 million more per week.
Higher gas and electricity bills are not just limited to people sent to work from home during this crisis. Although not to the same extent, retired persons, or other individuals not active in the workforce, can also expect energy bills to increase as they spend more time at home.
Amid the lockdown, prepayment customers are still permitted to go to the shop to top up. We recommend topping up more than usual to cover the increase in consumption, as well as to minimise the risk of you becoming infected with or spreading COVID-19 by having to go out again.
What if I can’t afford to pay more for my energy?
According to Dame Gillian Guy, Chief Executive of Citizens Advice, “Keeping people on supply, making sure they have warm homes and don’t face additional financial or other stresses about their energy supply will be essential.”
The government and the energy industry have agreed on emergency measures to provide support for households struggling financially. If you’re worried you won’t be able to cover the extra costs of gas and electricity while you work from home, you should contact your energy provider to discuss options for keeping you in supply.
These options include but are not limited to the following:
- reduced or paused payments
- access to hardship funds
- review of debt repayment plans
Individuals forced to work from home during this time may be able to claim tax relief for the extra cost of gas and electricity. The government also stated that you may be able to get up to £18 per month from your employer to cover the additional energy costs of working from home.
Customers with credit meters can rest assured that their supply will not be disconnected during this period of disruption caused by COVID-19.
How can I save money on my energy bills?
To combat the additional energy costs you’ll have to pay while working from home, it’s worth taking the time to see how you could save money on your energy bills.
Reduce your energy consumption
Even though you’ll use more energy throughout the day to power your laptop and other home appliances, that doesn’t mean you can’t reduce your gas and electricity usage in other areas.
From using the microwave to heat your food to using cold water to wash your clothes, there are various ways to reduce your energy consumption and save money.
With more hours of daylight and warmer temperatures approaching, home-bound households are also likely to soon be consuming less energy for lighting and heating.
Go on a cheaper tariff
Customers with pay-as-you-go meters almost always end up paying a higher price for their gas and electricity than customers who pay via direct debit or on receipt of a bill. Prepayment customers with smart meters can easily switch to a different tariff with a more affordable payment method without having to get a new meter installed.
Even if you have a credit meter, it’s likely that you’re still not on the cheapest available tariff in your area. If you’re not sure which tariff you should go on, give us a call at Selectra on 0203 936 0059. One of our energy advisors will be able to help you get the best deal for your gas and electricity so that you can start saving money today.