Why Are UK Energy Prices Increasing and What Can You Do About It?

Over the past few months, reports have been cropping up everywhere about energy bills going up in the UK. It is likely that as a resident, you have noticed your bills climbing upward. This is all due to the energy crisis currently happening around the world, affecting not just the UK but the world over.

Why Are UK Energy Prices Increasing?

 

As the world tries to get back on its feet following the effects of the pandemic, there has been an increase in demand for gas that is not able to be met. This is due to a supply shortage issue, which caused gas prices to rise in 2021.

Wholesale gas prices have gone up by 250 percent since January 2021 and spiked at 70 percent in August alone. The issue was only worsened by renewable energy sources such as solar and wind generating less power as well as chilly winter months driving more and more people to turn up their heat. The conflict in Ukraine is also having an impact on the energy supplies by driving up the price.

The UK is also dealing with some unique problems specific to the area, which is also contributing to the crisis. These include:

  • A fire at a National Grid location in Kent took down a power cable that ran between France and England that was used to transport electricity from country to country. This cable is not anticipated to be back to operational functionality until 2023.
  • Low winds in the area have meant lower wind-powered energy generation. This, paired with outages occurring across some nuclear power stations, has meant that a higher percentage of energy generation is using gas to meet energy demands.
  • The UK holds some of the lowest reserves of gas in Europe. Because of this, it is virtually impossible to stockpile gas for use during shortages. The capacity is equal to about two percent of the annual gas demand in the UK, compared to 25 percent for other European countries.

UK Energy prices increasing

What Is the Energy Price Cap?

 

In January 2019, Ofgem introduced what is being called an “energy price cap.” This came on the heels of the concerns of residents that they were paying too much towards their energy bills.

The cap serves as the maximum amount of money that suppliers are allowed to charge for their energy. This cap is reviewed in April and October. As recently as February, Ofgem determined that the cap will rise in April 2022 for upward of 22 million customers.

As mentioned, the cap limits the amount of money that a supplier can charge for their default tariff. This includes the price for each unit of electricity and gas and the standing charge. The standing charge is a fixed daily number that customers must pay for their energy, regardless of how much energy is consumed.

The energy cap only applies to those who are on a standard variable tariff, or SVT, which is often the most expensive of the provider’s tariffs. The price cap does not apply to customers who are on a fixed-term energy tariff or those with a tariff that is exempt from the price cap. This includes some special time of use tariffs and green tariffs.

What Can You Do To Save Energy?

 

There are many energy-saving actions you can take today to reduce energy costs for your household. Some of these money-saving tips are as simple as making changes in some daily habits, while others are as simple as making the switch to low-energy lighting. Read on to learn more:

  • Turn off your lights when they are not in use. Many people are guilty of the bad habit of leaving lights on when they leave a room. By turning off the lights when you don’t need them, you can save plenty of money on your monthly costs.
  • Use LED lights. Many homes have been making the switch to LED lighting, and a huge contributing factor to that change is its money-0saving ability. LED lighting uses far less energy to create illumination, and they have a longer life than standard bulbs on top of it. This can significantly reduce your energy bills.
  • Unplug your devices. Almost all electric devices and appliances can be turned off by pulling the plugs without any impact on their functionality. Even so, many people neglect to do this, thinking turning off the power switch on the device is enough. Leaving the appliance off but plugged in puts some items in standby mode, which still consumes energy.
  • Wash your clothing more efficiently. Besides buying a new, energy-efficient washer, you can wash your clothing at 30 degrees instead of 40 degrees. This 10-degree difference makes quite a difference indeed when it comes to the price of your energy bills. It is also wise to do full loads to make the most out of the water and energy consumption instead of smaller loads spread out over time.
  • Keep the thermostat at a lower temperature. Almost half of the cost of energy bills is due to heating and hot water usage. Turning the thermostat down by just a single degree can save up to £80 per year.

Save energy by using LED Light bulbs

What About LED Lighting and the Environment? Can They Be Recycled?

 

Of all of these options, using LED bulbs and turning off lights are among the easiest ways to save money. Not only can this energy-saving lighting reduce the cost of electric bills, but it can also be beneficial for the environment. Energy-efficient lighting in the form of an LED bulb puts less stress on the environment by producing less waste.

LED bulbs last for up to 20,000 hours, which will alone cut down the number of replacement bulbs you need to purchase. This means that fewer bulbs are also going into landfills. Beyond that, most LED bulbs can be recycled. These lights have electronic elements that are perfect for recycling. These include transformers, semiconductors and diodes.

For starters, LED lights also do not contain the same harmful substances such as mercury that many other types of bulbs contain. You can safely recycle these lights by contacting one of the many recycling centres in the UK that specializes in recycling these bulbs. You can even ship them to online recycling companies that specialize in LED bulbs.

It is best to check the packaging that comes with the LED bulbs to find the best recycling practices for each one. Sometimes, you can toss them right in with the other household recycling instead of sending them to a recycling plant. This typically depends on where you live.

LED light bulb recycling

Why Should You Switch to LED Lighting?

 

Besides the energy-efficient and money-saving aspects of LED lighting, it boasts many other perks that also make it attractive:

  • LONG LIFESPAN. As mentioned previously, LED lights are rated to last a minimum of 20,000 hours. Some can last as long as 100,000 hours. This is up to four times longer than the life of most fluorescent bulbs and 40 times longer than the standard incandescent bulb. This means lower maintenance costs as well as lower replacement costs.
  • IMPROVED SAFETY. The biggest hazard that light poses is heat emission. Where standard bulbs use most of their energy to output heat, LED bulbs do not emit much heat. About 90 percent of an LED bulb’s total energy goes toward lighting, with only 10 percent of it creating heat. This means that, unlike standard bulbs, you can touch an LED bulb with your bare hand and not have to worry about burning yourself.
  • BEAUTIFUL COLOUR RENDERING INDEX. The Colour Rendering Index is a way to measure the ability of a light to show the real colours of an item that it shines on. Having a high CRI like the one that an LED bulb can provide is preferred, as this will show what any given object or area really looks like; other types of bulbs tend to distort the appearance and give the wrong impression of how they look.
  • COLOUR TEMPERATURES. In terms of colour, you also have a wide variety of colour temperatures to choose from with LED bulbs. Colour temperatures, measured in degrees Kelvin, indicate the warmth or coolness of a light. LED bulbs tend to range between 3000k warm white light and 6000k cool light. 3000k lighting is preferred for homes, while 6000k tends to be best in office and retail settings.
  • DIRECTIONAL ILLUMINATION. Most lights shine 360 degrees around, so they require some sort of shade or reflective accessory to direct or reflect the light where you want it to go. This makes these traditional lights less efficient and gives you less control over the overall appearance of the light.
  • High brightness and light intensity. LED bulbs can output very high brightness levels. The brightness is measured in lumens instead of wattage; to put this practically, one watt typically translates to 70 to 100 lumens of light.

How Much Money Can You Save By Using LED Lighting?

 

You can save money when switching to LED light right from the jump. Even the buying process is less expensive. Here’s how:

  • LOWER UPFRONT COSTS OF LED BULBS. Though you will notice that LED bulbs cost more upfront to buy than standard bulbs, they end up saving you plenty of money in the long run. Take for instance a five-watt LED GLS priced at £5.40, its equivalent 40W GLS pearl filament bulb is priced at £1.29.

The LED option has a rated life of 20,000 hours, and the other bulb shines for only 1,000 hours. This means one LED bulb can last as long as 20 traditional bulbs. Over a period of 20,000 hours, the LED will cost £5.40, while the filament bulbs will cost £25.80 to provide light for the same duration.

  • ENERGY COSTS. As you’ve seen, the energy efficiency of LED lighting can help bring down your energy bills. These lights are far more energy efficient than other types of bulbs, which has the potential to significantly reduce your energy bills. For instance, with an energy rate of £0.19 per kWh, the LED bulb costs £19 during its lifetime. Compare this to the incandescent bulb, which would cost £152 during the same time frame.
  • OVERALL SAVINGS. All of the above means the LED light would cost £5.40 upfront, as well as another £19 in energy costs for 20,000 hours. This totals out to £24.40. Switching just one traditional bulb to an LED bulb can save you £153.40. If you replaced eight, as an example, this could save you £1227.

 

Examples of LED Lighting

Now that you are familiar with the benefits, you can see how versatile lights are that use LED as the light source:

 

  1. LPL335 20 Watt LED Pendant Light – Up And Down Lighter

LPL335 20 watt up and down modern pendant lighting

The ultra-modern LPL335 20 Watt LED Pendant Light – Up And Down Lighter is a colourful, artistic light fixture. It is designed using two shallow, dome-shaped lights that house high quality Osram LED bulbs. The two 10-watt bulbs in the light provide a 2000 lumen output, which is about the same amount of light as a far less efficient 160-watt halogen bulb.

The contemporary pendant light shines a 3000k warm white LED colour, making it perfect for home use. It comes in various colour options, from vibrant yellow, red and green to neutral hues of white and black, making it easy to incorporate into any space in the home.

 

  1. LBL253B 15 Watt Hexagonal Surface Mounted LED Downlight

LBL253B 15 watt surface mounted LED downlight - Hexagonal LED downlight ceiling light

The LBL253B 15 Watt Hexagonal Surface Mounted LED Downlight is a fashionable, energy-efficient modern LED lighting option. The downlight features three hexagonal metal shades that are attached to create a honeycomb appearance. The light operates using three five-watt LED lamps that output a total of 1200 lumens. The illumination is a 3000k warm white light that is gentle on the eyes and perfect for domestic settings. The fixture provides directional light at a 30-degree beam angle to let you choose just where the light shines. The downlighter makes a great alternative for those who like recessed ceiling lights but do not have a ceiling that can accommodate them.

Using LED bulbs in wall lighting can add layering to your space and more efficiently and completely light up the room. Indoor LED wall lights are particularly beneficial for dark hallways and staircases, but they can be placed anywhere that needs efficient, decorative lighting. Much like any other type of light, they come in a variety of different shapes, sizes and colours for you to choose from to best suit the existing look of your home.

During the current global energy crisis, taking steps to make your home more energy efficient can save you a lot of money on your bills. One of the best and simplest ways to do this is by switching to LED lighting. Above, we explored just why this is, as well as how much money you could expect to save on your energy bills by doing so.

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