Parents set to save £11m a week on energy bills as kids return to school

Abigail Fenton
·3 min read
Turning off just one 15W bulb for a six-to-seven-hour school day could save parents about 7p a week.
Turning off just one 15W bulb for a six-to-seven-hour school day could save parents about 7p a week. Photo: Wilhelm Gunkel/Unsplash

Parents across the UK could be set to save a collective £11m ($15m) a week in energy bills as their children head back to school in September, research suggests.

The back-to-school period can be expensive for parents, but reduced energy bills could see massive savings, according to comparison site Uswitch.

Reduction in TV and electronics usage, cooking and washing up could save the average UK household about £2 a week — or £104 a year.

With children now eating lunch at school, many parents will need to cook one less meal a day — five a week — at home, potentially saving them up to 80p a week in energy bills, the research found.

On top of this, reducing their weekly dishwasher use from 11 to just nine loads could save them an additional 47p a week.

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TV-watching could drop by up to three hours less a day, saving 75p a week in electricity bills.

Meanwhile, turning off just one 15W bulb for a six-to-seven-hour school day could save parents about 7p a week, the data shows.

While the return of school uniforms, which need washing several times a week, as well as evening clothes, is likely to increase washing machine use to the tune of about 9p a week, the savings are still significant.

This could still greatly benefit cash-strapped families, especially as energy deals in the UK are now at their cheapest since 2018, USwitch found.

“Families have seen their energy use rocket during lockdown, so the return of children to school will mean a welcome reduction in costs in many households — and one that could help offset the cost of back to school uniforms and other essentials,” said Sarah Broomfield, energy expert at Uswitch.

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“Hours of television and playing on gadgets can significantly increase household bills, while cooking meals and washing up after children all add up.

“The savings will be reduced by the fact that most families will find themselves doing more washing as children wear school uniforms in addition to their casual clothes every day.”

Uswitch also provided some tips for those looking to save on their energy bills.

How to save on energy bills

  1. Check for draughts — Seal off windows and doors to save on heating bills, USwitch advised

  2. Full load — If you’re using your dishwasher or washing machine, making sure you have a full load will decrease the number of cycles you have to do

  3. One degree — Turning your heating down by a barely-noticeable one degree can save you money over time

  4. Only boil what you need — if you’re making a cup of tea for one, don’t fill your kettle to the top

  5. Save on lighting — Energy-saving bulbs use up to 80% less electricity and last up to three times longer, saving on bills and purchases

  6. Turn appliances off — Electronics left on standby still use energy, even if it’s just to power a small light in the console

  7. Energy grants — Talk to your energy supplier or local energy advisory centre to find out what grants are available to help you install energy-saving measures, USwitch advised.

Home-owners in the UK can claim up to £500 work of vouchers to make energy-saving improvements to their homes through the government’s Green Homes Grant.