How the clocks going back tonight adds £400 to energy bills

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THE yearly routine of changing the clocks costs households up to £438 on their energy bills, according to new research.

Daylight saving time ends today, October 30, meaning the clocks go back one hour at 2am.

Daylight savings time is adding to household energy bills

The idea is to make better use of daylight, but academics at Queen’s University Belfast have found the average household could save £1.20 a day on electricity if the clocks were not put back in October.

This is because it would reduce demand by up to 10 per cent during the evenings, according to professor Aoife Foley.

She said: “We [would] reduce commercial and residential electrical demand as people leave work earlier, and go home earlier, meaning less lighting and heating is needed.”

During the winter, evening energy demand peaks between 5pm and 7pm, which can cause the National Grid to struggle.

The calculations didn’t factor in gas usage or electricity used by businesses.

Doing so would make the potential energy savings “even more significant”, according to Ms Foley.

The daylight savings plan was first proposed by builder Willem Willet in 1907 and then introduced in 1916 as a wartime effort to reduce energy demand.

Since 2002, most countries in the European Economic Area have adjusted their clocks on the last Sunday in March and October.

Yet the European Union has considered axing daylight saving time for years as a means of saving energy.

Critics of scrapping it are concerned about road traffic collisions and it would cause time zone issues between the UK and Ireland.

The research comes after the new chancellor Jeremy Hunt confirmed the government’s energy price guarantee will last for just six months.

It effectively caps bills for the average household at £2,500 a year.

The support was originally planned to be effective for two years to protect households from soaring bills.

The change means households on standard variable tariffs could face annual bills of up to £5,000 from next year.

This applies if their rates default to the energy price cap, which is set by the watchdog Ofgem.

Other ways to cut energy bills

People are being encouraged to sign up with their electricity supplier for a scheme which will give them money back on their bills.

To get the money back, customers will be expected to shift their use of power away from times of high demand to help prevent blackouts.

That could mean putting on the dishwasher or washing machine overnight or charging an electric vehicle at off-peak times.

The “demand flexibility service” will run from November to March, and it is being introduced to help prevent blackouts.

So far there are two major suppliers providing customers with the scheme.

OVO Energy has announced a trial where customers can save up to £100 on their bills by switching their usage to less busy times of the day.

And Octopus Energy has also said customers will be £100 better off by using its “Saving Sessions” flexibility service.

Other energy suppliers have not yet announced how they will run the scheme.

But you’ll need to be on a smart meter no matter which supplier you’re with to take advantage of it.

And most people currently pay the same amount for energy throughout the day and night, unless they are on an Economy 7 or 10 tariff.

These give you cheaper rates during the night and more expensive ones in the daytime – so the scheme will have varied results depending on which tariff you’re on.

It’s expected that households will receive a text, email or letter explaining that if they use less energy during peak hours on set days, they could be paid up to £10 a day if they choose to opt in.

But remember – there are a few risks and pieces of safety advice to take note of if you’re going to run some appliances overnight.

These include:

  • Close all doors as this can help to prevent fire and smoke from spreading.
  • Switch off and unplug electrical items such as TVs.
  • Avoid charging devices like mobile phones when you sleep.
  • Make sure any candles are out before you go to bed.
  • Check your cooker and heaters are turned off