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13th April 2022

Cost of Living: Home energy

Electricity & Gas Price Comparison

As home energy costs are at an all-time high, now is a good time to check that you are on the best tariff. Switching supplier may help you save money. There are also potential savings to be made by changing the way you pay (e.g. changing to Direct Debit) and how you receive your bill (e.g. changing to e-bill).

We have a free Energy Price Comparison Tool that contains all the gas and electricity tariffs currently available to consumers in Northern Ireland. It asks you to input your current energy usage (you will find this information on your current bills) and then it calculates the savings you can make. Click here to use our Energy Price Comparison Tool. You can also watch the short instructional video below to show you how to use the tool.  

We also update our Energy Tables each time a supplier changes one of their gas or electric tariffs. The tables provide an overview of the price per unit of all tariffs available in Northern Ireland, as well as additional information such as bonuses for new customers, or exit fees if you leave the contract early. Click here to view our Energy Tables

Home Heating Oil

​Northern Ireland remains reliant on expensive home-heating. More than two-thirds (about 68%) of households are dependent on home heating oil as their main heat source.

Every week we survey suppliers across Northern Ireland to benchmark prices on the cost of home heating oil. You might have a regular supplier, but you may save money by using this tool to check if you are paying more than average price. Make sure to shop around and look at other suppliers, as many will deliver further afield at no extra cost. Click here to see our Home Heating Oil survey results.

Oil buying clubs 

Many people find it difficult to budget for large one-off bulk deliveries. Larger orders are a higher one-off cost, but smaller orders cost more per litre. Buyers often have no option but to place these smaller, more expensive orders. Joining a local Oil Buying Club is one solution to this problem. 

Oil Buying Clubs are based on a simple idea: the more people that buy oil together, the lower the cost. You can buy as little as 200 litres of oil. When all club member orders are put together, the Club can get a better price. The best way to negotiate a great price for your Club, is NI Oil Buying Network negotiating on the intended bulk order, on behalf of an area of clubs. Savings made are passed on to all members. The more people that take part in the initial orders, the greater the savings. 

For more information, click here to visit the Northern Ireland Housing Executive's web page about Oil Buying Clubs

Regular oil payments

The Northern Ireland Oil Federation also has PayPoint facilities to enable you to budget and make regular payments towards your oil delivery instead of having to pay for your delivery in a lump sum.

Avoid emergency oil drums

Avoid buying 20 litre emergency oil drums from forecourts as a regular means of topping up your oil tank as they are extremely expensive and should only be used in emergency circumstances.

Energy Efficiency

Every one of us is an energy user and there are many things we can do to reduce how much energy we use. This is especially good news for the bill payer as using less energy means more savings. Use the drop-down menu below to discover ways to make your energy budget stretch a bit further: 

Minimise your electricity usage

Did you know that by taking some simple steps you can save up to £375 per year off your electricity bill? Follow the Energy Saving Trust's tips: 

  1. Switching off Stanby Mode on your devices could save around £55 per year
  2. Draught-proofing windows and doors could save around £45 per year
  3. Turning off lights when you leave a room could save around £20 a year 
  4. Switching to LED bulbs can save between £4-13 per bulb per year 
  5. Using your washing machine more efficiently, such as doing a 30-degree wash, could save you around £28 a year 
  6. Avoiding using your tumble dryer in warmer weather could save around £60 a year 
  7. Keeping your shower time to just 4 minutes could save a typical household £70 a year on their energy bills
  8. Swapping just one bath a week with a 4-minute shower could save you £12 a year on your energy bills
  9. Avoid overfilling the kettle and save yourself £11 a year on your electricity bill
  10. Reducing your dishwasher use by one run per week for a year could save you £14
  11. Effective insulation of your hot water cylinder is important: even if you have thin spray foam or a loose 25mm jacket, you can benefit from increasing the insulation to a British Standard Jacket 80mm thick, saving £35 a year in the process

 For more information on energy efficiency, click here to visit the Energy Saving Trust website.

Make the best of your home heating

  • Pull your sofa away from the radiator if it is in front of it. 
  • Keep curtains closed to keep heat in.
  • Draught-proof windows and doors.
  • Turning down your thermostat by 1°C could save you £80 a year. 
  • Servicing your boiler regularly will reduce your heating bills.
  • Insulating your loft can save you around £155 per year.
  • Cavity wall insulation can save you as around £185 a year.
  • Solid wall insulation can save you around £250 a year.

Switch to energy-rated appliances

Switching existing household appliances such as a fridge and washing machine to energy-rated appliances will save money in the long run.

You can also replace your household bulbs with LED alternative ones. LED lighting is extremely energy efficient. Click here to visit the Energy Saving Trust's web page about efficient lighting.

We have developed some handy tools to help you see how much money your electrical appliances are costing you to run: 

  • Want to know how much to run your washing machine or how much you spend on boiling your kettle? You can use the common appliance running cost checker on our website find out how much you are spending.
  • Our single appliance checker will let you see how much appliances cost to run on a per-minute, per-hour, and per-day basis. This is handy for checking out how much that new fridge will cost to run.

Video: How to save money on your energy bills

Help & Support

If you are struggling to pay your energy bill, or you are in debt, contact your supplier for help. As through their regulated licence conditions, energy suppliers should support you by:

  • working with you to develop a manageable repayment plan, this is based on your individual ability to pay;
  • providing additional protection to you if you are of pensionable age, disabled or chronically ill; and
  • providing energy efficiency advice which may reduce your usage and therefore your overall bill.

National Energy Action is the national fuel poverty charity, working to ensure that everyone in England, Wales and Northern Ireland is warm and safe at home. Click here to visit National Energy Action's website

In addition, there are a number of government support schemes and independent advice agencies that can provide you with additional help. You'll find this information on NI Direct's website. Click here to visit NI Direct's Energy Support web page

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