The smart way to put a cap on energy bills



Households are facing huge hikes in energy bills as a result of the new price cap recently announced.  Katie Plumstead, marketing manager with Scolmore Group company, ESP, looks at some of the measures households can take to help reduce the impact, and has advice for wholesalers on the products they can access.

When the new energy price cap announced by Ofgem comes into force on 1 April, average energy bills will increase by £693 to £1,971 a year - a rise of 54%. Experts have also warned that the energy price cap could rise once again in October 2022 by 20%.  With heating and hot water accounting for around 50% of the total energy consumed in a typical UK home, householders are facing stark choices when it comes to managing their budgets and there is a sharp focus on the measures that can be taken to help reduce energy consumption and combat rising bills.

There is no shortage of advice out there on simple things that can be done in the home to cut energy usage, and the Energy Savings Trust has published a table showing the typical yearly savings that occupiers of an average three-bedroom gas heated home in Great Britain could make.  Among the measures suggested are turning off lighting, switching off standby, draught-proofing gaps in doors and windows, taking a 4-minute shower, washing at 30 degrees and not overfilling the kettle.  The experts at The Energy Saving Trust also dispel the myth that it is cheaper to have the heating on low all day.  They say having the heating on only when you need it is, in the long run, the best way to save energy, and therefore money. 

Understanding how their heating system is performing and how they can make small changes to improve its efficiency is another consideration for householders.  It may be that installing new heating controls – timers, and thermostats - or replacing older models with more efficient ones, can help them have more control over when the heating should be on and what temperature the rooms should be.  Research shows that few people really understand their heating controls and many simply just don’t use them.  This is where installers, supported by manufacturers and wholesalers, can play a part in advising and educating consumers on the best products for their circumstances and how to use them.    

Energy efficient heating

As a leading player in the heating controls market with its Sangamo range, ESP is constantly looking at ways to improve both its product offer and its service to customers.  Last year the company made the decision to revamp its Sangamo Choice Plus heating and timer controls range, with the main aim of introducing features that assist with efficiency and performance and that ultimately drive down energy usage and costs.  

Heating controls can be broken down into four main product categories – timer controls, thermostats, programmable thermostats and programmers – and Sangamo has a total of 15 products making up the range.

  • Timer controls - designed for simplistic ON/OFF manual or scheduled control for heating and lighting applications. 
  • Thermostats - designed for controlling heating systems via an electronic sensor.
  • Programmable thermostats - designed for controlling heating applications via an electronic sensor or programmed schedule.  All Sangamo thermostat products have been upgraded and now offer TPI (Time Proportional and Integral) control for heating efficiency.  In addition, the programable thermostats include an optimization feature; Optimum Start/Delay Start and Optimum Stop, for extra efficiency. 
  • Programmers - designed for heating and hot water controlled independently across separate channels via a programmed schedule. 

The evolution of smart technology has a key role to play in energy efficiency.  It provides homeowners with a real opportunity to make conscious decisions about how they heat their homes and what effect this can have on their energy bills.  A smart thermostat is something that installers can easily add to their customers’ home heating, allowing householders to control and monitor the room temperature and thermostat activity from anywhere in the world, via an app on a smart phone or tablet. 

Smart choice

Sangamo’s Wi-Fi thermostat offers energy efficient programming and remote access via the Sangamo choice app.  It has been designed to be straightforward to install and operate and is suitable for electric, gas or oil systems.  It allows control and monitoring of room temperature and thermostat activity from anywhere in the world, through the free to download app.

It is estimated that 6% of households in the UK already have smart thermostats, according to YouGov, which adds up to 1.67 million homes.  That is just a fraction of the 22 million households estimated to be affected by the new energy price hike.  Helping homeowners understand how their heating system is performing and how they can make small changes to improve its efficiency should be a priority for installers. By recommending the installation of smart thermostats and giving advice on heating controls, they can help householders to make immediate savings.

The Sangamo range of heating and timer controls is suitable for domestic, commercial, and industrial use.  ESP believes its comprehensive offer is making it easier for installers and contractors to select the right solutions for a variety of projects and is providing wholesalers with a greater choice of products and support that will encourage upselling.