Energy usage groups
Energy usage varies quite a lot from one household to the next, depending on lots of factors such as the size of the property, how many people live there, how much time they spend at home, and how often they use the heating or appliances.
Industry regulator Ofgem groups energy customer into one of three groups: low, medium or high. Suppliers have different tariffs aimed at each group. The tariff that offers the best value for a high usage group will usually not offer the best deal for low usage groups, and vice versa.
Which energy usage group do you fall into?
To work out which group you fall into, you need to establish how many kilowatt hours (kWhs) of gas or electricity you use, by using an energy monitor or a smart meter, or by checking your energy bill.
These groupings are not precise, however, and your grouping could change if your circumstances change (for example if you have children, or your children leave home).
Low energy users consume around 11,000 kWhs of gas and 2,100 kWhs of electricity each year. Typically, this level of usage would be for a relatively small property with one or two residents who use appliances sparingly.
Medium energy users consume about 16,500 kWhs of gas and 3,300 kWhs of electricity each year. This would usually be the amount used in a mid-sized houses with two to three bedrooms and parents who are out at work during the day, using most of their energy in the evenings and at weekends.
High energy users consume around 23,000 kWhs of gas and 5,100 kWhs of electricity each year on average. This would typically be larger households with four or more residents or a property with four or more bedrooms, using regular heating and lots of appliances.
Ways to reduce your energy consumption
Finding the energy deal that is right for you is an important way of helping to cut your energy bills. You can also do a number of other things to make your home more energy efficient, for example fitting loft or cavity wall insulation. Several schemes offer these at a reduced price, or provide grants towards the cost. You can speak to your energy supplier or the Energy Saving Trust (0800 512 012) to find out more.
- If you have a timer, set your heating and hot water to come on only when you need it.
- Set the hot water thermostat to 60 degrees Celsius.
- Draw your curtains when it goes dark to stop heat escaping, and check for draughts around windows and doors.
- Don't leave appliances on standby, or devices on charge unnecessarily.
- Turn lights off when you leave a room.
- Fill up your washing machine, dryer or dishwasher before you use it. One full load uses less energy than two half loads.
- Only boil as much water as you need in your kettle.
- Fix leaking taps. A dripping hot water tap can waste enough energy in one week to fill half a bath.
- Use energy-saving lightbulbs, which last up to 10 times longer than ordinary bulbs.