Martin Lewis issues winter blackouts warning as households urged to follow 10-point plan

The MoneySavingExpert urged households to cut their energy usage

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Martin Lewis has warned households across the UK could face blackouts this winter unless action is taken to cut down on energy use.

The MoneySavingExpert founder stressed that action needs to be taken now and issued a 10-point plan on how to reduce energy and gas consumption over the coming months.

His warning comes after energy prices have increased by 96% since last winter and are due to rise another 48% in April when annual energy bills could hit £3,700 for the average UK household, up from £2,500.

The latest forecast from Cornwall Insight, which collects data and makes predictions about the energy market, said the energy price cap is likely to rise again in five months’ time despite current prices already being 95% higher than they were last winter.

The predicted cap is due to kick in when the  government’s Energy Price Guarantee comes to an end in April. The price guarantee was introduced by then former Prime Minister Liz Truss and saw the typical energy bill capped at £2,500 per year, but this will only last until 31 March 2023.

The government is yet to announce if and how households will be supported with energy bills from April onwards.

Speaking during the Martin Lewis Money Show on Tuesday night (8 November), he told viewers: “Make your house as energy efficient as you possibly can. It’s good for your pocket. Good for the environment and good for energy security which is at risk this winter. We do not want power cuts so this is a social responsibility."

Martin Lewis told viewers to “get your house in order” (Photo: ITV)Martin Lewis told viewers to “get your house in order” (Photo: ITV)
Martin Lewis told viewers to “get your house in order” (Photo: ITV)

‘Get your house in order’

The finance expert told viewers to “get your house in order” and issue the following 10-point checklist to help reduce the risk of blackouts this winter.

Turn boiler down 1C

Mr Lewis challenged viewers to turn their boiler down by 1C to reduce energy use. He said: “The World Health Organisation says 18C is fine for healthy adults. Younger, older or ill you might need more.

“It’s not for me to tell you what to do but I’d like you to try reducing one degree. Say you’re at 21C, try reducing to 20C. That could save you around 10% on your heating bill.

“If your heating is only kicking in at 15C and you’re heating to 21, only heating to 20C is actually a significant saving. Don’t think 0 to 20 think 15 to 20."

Mr Lewis then alerted viewers to the website which he said explains how households with a combi boiler can turn down the flow rate.

He said: “Nothing to do with me, this is a website that takes you through, if you’ve got a combi boiler, and the vast majority of you do, how to turn down the flow rate.

"You’d normally want it to be around 60C, but most people’s boilers are set higher, that’s really inefficient, you can turn this down, it won’t affect the heat of your house it’ll still be the same temperature, it won’t affect your hot water temperature. It might take slightly longer to get up to the maximum temperature. But it can cut £100 a year off your bill, it’s well worth everyone doing.

"This is an absolute no brainer, everyone with a combi boiler should be trying this one."

Avoid tumble dryers

Mr Lewis warned against using tumble dryers as they are extremely expensive to run, costing as much as £1 per use. Households that have tumble dryers could make some big savings by not using them where possible.

Fit a free water saving shower head

The MoneySavingExpert founder recommended fitting a free water-saving shower head which could save a typical household around £50 a year on average.

Savings vary by supplier and usage, but the Energy Saving Trust estimates that replacing an inefficient shower head with an efficient one could save a family of four £75 on their gas bill and about £120 on their water bill (if metered) each year.

If you are not on a water meter, you can get one fitted for free in England and Wales and use a water meter calculator to see if it will save you money.

Mr Lewis has also previously advised that shaving just one-minute off your shower time could result in a saving of £207 per year in energy bills, and a further £105 annually in water bills if you have a meter - making a total saving of £312 a year for an average four-person household.

Put foil behind radiators

Placing aluminium foil behind radiators around your home can help to conserve the heat and push it in the right direction, which could in turn help cut down on heating costs.

Turn off radiators

Mr Lewis urged households to turn off radiators in rooms that are not being used to cut down on heating costs. He said: “If you are lucky enough to have rooms you don’t use, make sure the radiators are turned off.

“When you turn the central heating on for the first time, you only want the radiators on in the rooms you’re using - we all know this, it’s not rocket science but we just don’t all do it.”

Check your TV energy setting

Check your TV to see if it has a low energy or standby setting, as switching this on can help to save money.

Use ‘tactical’ curtains

Mr Lewis told households to open the curtains during the day to let the heat from the sunshine in, and to close them at night to keep the heat inside. He also suggested fleece lined curtains as an option to keep rooms warm.

Set fridge temperatures

Make sure your fridge isn’t lower than 5C and your freezer shouldn’t be lower than -18C.

Turn draught detective

Mr Lewis told viewers to walk around their house to try to find where draughts are and block these off.

He advised that sausage dog draught excluders are good for this, as well as cling film on windows to act as an extra layer of insulation.

Households with a cylinder on the hot water tank could save £50 to £60 per year by adding a jacket to it to boost insulation.

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