High fuel costs are a concern every winter, impacting the elderly and those in poverty the most. But the economic impact of Covid-19 means more households than ever will be looking to save money on energy bills. This is especially important for the millions of us working from home. The reality is that during the upcoming winter months, we are going to have to spend more than usual on gas and electricity.
The average energy bill last year was £1,254, according to the regulator Ofgem - that's roughly £3.50 a day. Of course, that is based on our old habits: being at the office during weekdays and only using a few hours of heating in the morning and evening.
In April 2020, 49% of UK workers were working from home as a result of the social distancing measures introduced to mitigate coronavirus risk. With working from home’s popularity, some energy experts predict a doubling of our average energy bills!
This situation is made even more concerning as the UK’s furlough scheme comes to an end (to be replaced by the less-generous Job Support Scheme). Increased redundancies and income cuts are on the horizon.
That is why it is imperative that people who can access savings, discounts and grants for their winter fuel costs know where to find them and can apply for them immediately.
The UK government are offering tax relief for additional household costs for employees who are now working from home as a result of Covid-19 restrictions. Additional costs include things like heating, metered water bills, home contents insurance, business calls or a new broadband connection. You can claim tax relief on £6 a week without needing to provide evidence of these extra costs.
To apply for the work from home tax relief, click here (over 50,000 people have applied so far this year).
There is also the Warm Home Discount Scheme for pensioners and those on low income. This is a discount of up to £140 off your heating and electrical bills this winter. To find out more, about the Warm Home Discount and the Winter Fuel Payment for pensioners, click here.
If you would like to make your home more energy-efficient, the best option may be the Green Homes Grant. It provides vouchers to homeowners for the installation of energy-saving measures such as heat pumps, smart meters and insulation. To find out more, click here.