I’m working at home and would like some advice on keeping my energy bills down please. We’ve been working from home since lockdown, and have been told we’ll not be back in the office before March at the earliest. Now the weather has turned, I’m freezing sitting here all day in front of my computer! I’m worried if I turn the heating up my bills are going to go through the roof!
I’m sorry this is causing you to worry. However, fortunately, there’s lots you can do to keep bills down.
Firstly, see if you can get a better deal by changing your energy supplier. However, as well as comparing prices, it’s a good idea to check the customer service record of a company before switching. Citizens Advice has a price comparison tool https://energycompare.citizensadvice.org.uk/
and our star rating assesses the customer service records of the 40 biggest companies. See the Energy Supplier Performance section of www.citizensadvice.org.uk
There are also little, everyday things that can help, such as making sure televisions and other devices are switched off and not left on standby; washing clothes on a lower temperature; and only filling the kettle with the water you need.
You’re right in another way about bills going through the roof – and the walls. One way of cutting costs in the long term is to invest in good insulation – or ask your landlord to do so.
If your pay is close to the national minimum wage, the extra costs of working from home could be counted as a pay cut and bring you below the legal level. Talk to your manager or HR department, or your union rep if that feels more comfortable.
Finally, your employer should pay for any costs connected to your health and safety – such as a suitable chair for work at a computer. It’s also worth taking a look at your employer’s expenses policy, you may be able to claim for a number of other things, such as printer ink or telephone line rental.
Please contact Citizens Advice Maidenhead & Windsor by phone 03444 111 444 or by email form https://maidenheadcab.org.uk/get-advice/forms/ if you need help with this or another issue. We can help you over the phone or by email; even though our offices are currently closed.