Disclaimer: The information on this page was correct as of August 20, 2021.
People talk about cutting down on your energy usage, but do you know how much energy you actually use? How much you should or could cut down? Comparing your usage to the national average can help you see whether you need to cut back more than you think.
- How to calculate your energy usage
- What affects your energy usage?
- The UK’s average energy usage
- How to cut back on your energy usage
How to calculate energy usage
Energy usage refers to the amount of gas and electricity you use in kilowatt-hours (kWh). It is usually worked out either monthly or annually, and it’s really easy to work out yours.
To find out your energy usage in kWh, simply do (watts x hours)/1000
For example, if you’re using a 60w lightbulb for an hour, your usage would be (60 x 1)/1000 = 0.06kWh. Of course, your usage is usually worked out over a daily, monthly or yearly basis rather than one hour, taking into account more than just one lightbulb.
If you have a smart meter, you can find out your energy usage on your in-home display. It will show you your gas and electricity usage over the past day, month, and year as well as in real-time. You can view it in both monetary terms and kWh which can help you understand where your money is going as well as how much energy you’re using.
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What affects your energy usage?
There are all kinds of different things that would affect your usage and therefore how much you’re paying for your gas and electricity. By knowing what affects your energy usage, it’s easier to see where or if you can cut back and how.
Time of year
Everyone uses more gas and electricity over the winter. According to the National Grid, we use 30% more gas and 25% more electricity than in the summer.
The obvious reason for this is that we stay inside with the heating on more. However, with the darker nights, we also need more lights on for longer than we would during the summer.
Because we use more energy over the winter, the Government have set up a scheme to help low-income and vulnerable households to be able to afford their higher winter bills: The Warm Home Discount. If you’re eligible for the Warm Home Discount, you could receive a one-off payment of £140 to cover your energy bills from September to March.
Get £140 from the Warm Home Discount
Let us guide you through the Warm Home Discount and find you the right tariff that can also give you an additional £140 from the Warm Home Discount.
Number of people
The more people there are living in your household, the more appliances will be on, the more lights will be needed, and the more showers will be taken. Overall the more people, the more energy being used.
While your usage does go up with every extra person, it won’t double just because there are double the amount of people. There will be appliances that are used more than others, but there are also appliances that will be used almost the same as if only one person was living there. For example, your fridge will still be on for the same amount of time, you’ll still have the oven on every day, and you can easily share appliances such as TVs, games consoles, etc.
Large appliances such as washing machines, dishwashers, and tumble dryers all use up a lot of energy every time you use them. How often you use these can have a huge impact on your overall energy usage.
It’s not just the number of times you use these appliances that will make a difference – how energy-efficient they are will also have a big impact. Older machines tend to be a lot less energy-efficient than newer ones, therefore using more energy when you use them. Look out for the energy efficiency grade when you’re buying new appliances to help you cut down and save money.
The amount of insulation you have affects your home’s ability to keep in the heat. Having poor insulation could mean that it takes your house longer to warm up and makes it harder to retain the right temperature, meaning you need the heating on more often and for longer.
If you want to upgrade your insulation, there are several grants available to help cover some or all of the cost, such as the Green Homes Grant, ECO Scheme, and Affordable Warmth Scheme.
Number of bedrooms
Energy companies will often ask how many bedrooms your home has to get a good idea of the size and how much energy you’ll be using. The number of bedrooms tends to represent the number of people in the house too, which is another determining factor of energy usage.
The bigger the house, the longer it will take to warm up, meaning that the heating will need to be on for longer. There will also be more plug sockets meaning more devices can be plugged in and used at a time.
Weekend and evening use
Calculating your energy usage will largely depend on your evening and weekend usage. Because most people will be out at work, less energy is generally used during weekdays and more during evenings and weekends.
This is especially important to know when using two-rate tariffs and meters such as Economy 7 and 10 if you can use your energy at off-peak times.
What is the average usage in the UK?
You might hear usage referred to as the Typical Domestic Consumption Values (TDCV), but this just means that it is the average energy usage of homes.
Energy regulator, Ofgem, uses the past two years’ data to work out the average usage across the UK. It compares the total energy usage and averages them out to create three groups of users: low, medium, and high.
It’s worth bearing in mind that these averages take everyone’s usage into account so, for example, if your home is powered by electricity only, you might be in a higher band than someone in the same circumstances with gas-powered appliances.
What is the average electricity usage?
Electricity usage is split into two averages: profile class 01 and profile class 02 (this will be the first number on your MPAN). Profile class 02 is for people on Economy 7 meters as they use different amounts of energy at different times and tend to use a lot more electricity than gas.
|Usage level||Profile class 01||Profile class 02|
What is the average gas usage?
There is only one average for gas:
|Usage level||Average usage|
Theoretically, you should be in the same band for electricity as you are gas, however, this isn’t always the case.
What is the average gas and electric bill in the UK?
Using Ofgem’s Typical Domestic Consumption Values, we can work out roughly how much the average gas and electric bill is per year.
|Usage level||Gas bill||Electricity bill||Total|
How to cut down on your energy usage
Cutting down on your energy usage isn’t just good for your wallet, it’s great for the environment too. In a world where improving our environmental impact is vital, we should all be thinking about cutting back.
There are a number of different ways you can improve your energy usage:
- Turn down your thermostat – Heating your home uses a lot of energy, but would you notice if it was 1 or 2 degrees lower? Every degree you turn it down by could save you an average of £80 per year.
- Move furniture and curtains away from radiators – Having your radiators blocked by furniture and curtains traps the heat. Make sure your radiators are free to make sure the room is heated properly.
- Take shorter showers – While showers tend to use a lot less water and energy than a bath, longer ones could mean you’re not cutting back at all.
- Turn lights off when you leave the room – This is an obvious one, but it’s something that’s often forgotten. Unless you’re coming back to the room, make sure lights you don’t need are turned off and you could save around £50-90 per year.
- Switch to LED lightbulbs – LED lightbulbs are more energy-efficient than halogen bulbs and are quite often brighter too. Have you noticed that headlights on cars are getting brighter? That’s thanks to LEDs.
- Improve insulation – Improved insulation can trap the heat easier meaning it takes a lot less to keep warm. There are multiple grants available for insulation improvements to stop it being so pricey too.
- Upgrade to energy-efficient appliances – The more energy-efficient your appliances, the less energy they’re using. This is especially important in large appliances such as washing machines, dishwashers, and fridges that would usually use a lot of energy running.
- Unplug devices when they’re fully charged – Your charger could still be using energy, especially if your device or charger has an LED to show you it’s in use.
- Use the right hob ring for your saucepan – If you’re trying to heat a large pan on a small ring, it will take longer to heat properly. If you’re using a small pan on a large hob, you’re not using all the heat it provides.
- Upgrade to a smart meter – Smart meters can help track and make you more aware of how much energy you’re using. It can also help you see how much each appliance is costing you to run.
- Invest in renewable energy – Fitting solar panels or a small wind turbine to your home could mean you’re earning money on energy rather than spending it. If you produce more energy than you use, you can be paid to send unused energy back into the National Grid.
- Air dry instead of tumble dry – Air drying doesn’t use any energy at all while a tumble dryer is very power-hungry, even if it’s a more energy-efficient model.
- Make sure the whole household is cutting down with you – When the whole household is working on reducing their energy usage, you can save a lot more than if it’s just one person cutting back. Educate everyone on ways they can cut back and make the most of your savings.