How to claim the £400 energy discount amid the cost of living?

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Consider installing a smart meter

Smart meters keep track of how much energy you use in your home on a daily basis and provide much more accurate readings than traditional analog meters, which provide a monthly estimate. Measurements are automatically sent to suppliers, so that customers are less likely to pay too little or too much for gas and electricity.

They can also save you money. Some energy suppliers offer rates exclusively for smart meter users, which vary the cost of electricity throughout the day. Customers can then fine-tune their energy consumption and make more use of appliances when electricity prices are lower.

However, the devices have proved controversial. Some people find it annoying to have their energy usage tracked and have wondered how much money the meters really save as bills have risen to pay for the smart meter rollout.

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The devices themselves are also prone to problems. First-generation meters can lose functionality when a customer changes suppliers, effectively rendering the devices useless.

Energy companies are adamant that only they can see your data and that information cannot be passed on to a third party without your express consent. Although smart meters send readings to your energy supplier, they do not store your name, address or bank details.

Improve your insulation

Making changes to your home to improve heat storage can save hundreds of dollars off your energy bill.

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According to My Utility Genius, a comparison site, about 35 percent of the heat in an average semi-detached house is lost through the walls. Properly installed cavity wall insulation can save up to 15 pc on heating costs.

Houses built before the 1920s are more likely to have solid walls. These are more difficult and more expensive to insulate, but this can lead to higher savings. My Utility Genius said installing this type of insulation could cut average energy bills by up to £350 a year.

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In an uninsulated home, almost a quarter of the heat is lost through the roof. Attic or roof insulation can save up to £175 on the average bill, according to the comparison site.

Insulating floors, by filling gaps under skirting boards, can reduce heat loss by up to 10 per cent, saving £60 on typical utility bills.

Switch to a heat pump?

In the coming years, the cabinet wants to replace gas boilers with green alternatives, such as air/water heat pumps. These are expensive to install, costing between £7,000 and £14,000 versus £1,000 for a traditional gas boiler, but can reduce energy costs in the long run.

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