Household bills have increased dramatically over the past few years, leaving many students wondering what kind of support or assistance is available to them.  

We’ve put together this guide with everything you need to know about household bills and the help available, including: 

  • Why have household bills increased so much? 
  • What is the energy price cap? 
  • Do students get help with household bills? 
  • How can students reduce their household bills? 

Why have household bills increased so much? 

Wholesale gas prices have increased significantly recently, meaning suppliers must pay more for energy. These rising energy costs, combined with the coronavirus lockdowns, geopolitical conflicts, and colder winters, have led to a global energy crisis and higher energy prices for customers. Water bills have also increased (by an average of 6.2% since last year), but not as much as energy bills.  

Although many of these higher costs have been passed on to households, including shared student houses, the energy price cap controls how much energy suppliers can increase their prices (we’ve got more on this below).  

What is the energy price cap? 

This is a limit on the price of gas and electricity designed to prevent suppliers from overcharging customers for energy. Although it’s often presented as a cap on yearly energy bills, the actual cap is on the cost per unit of energy. This means if you use more than is typical (or you live in a shared student house), your yearly bills will likely be higher than the average. 

Do students get help with household bills? 

Unfortunately, no grants are specifically designed to help students with their household bills. Many of the extra funds and grants available to help people on low incomes require you to claim Universal Credit or some kind of benefit, making the majority of students ineligible.  

Remember, students are exempt from paying council tax, so at least this is one less bill for you to think about! 

Get specialist advice  

Although there aren’t many grant options available to students, you can speak to an adviser from Citizens Advice by calling 0808 223 1133. They’ll be able to advise you on what help is available based on your specific circumstances. Citizens Advice also has a comprehensive list of all the help available to households, which some students might be able to access.  

Get your energy bills reduced by changing your usage habits 

Another option is the Demand Flexibility Service. Launched in 2022, this scheme incentivises households to reduce their energy usage during peak times. Other similar schemes are also available: 

Get help from your university 

It’s also worth checking if your university offers any specific grants for students struggling with their household bills or more general hardship funds to help with the cost of living crisis. For example, the University of Greenwich offers Energy Bill Financial Support, which offers a one-off payment of £200 to home students struggling with their household bills.  

What can students do to lower their household bills? 

If you’re not using a bill-splitting service (with uncapped energy) to manage your utilities, you may need to consider taking the following approach to make sure your bills aren’t going to cost more than your predicated usage… 

  1. Get an electric blanket 

A heated electric blanket is a cheap investment (you can pick one up for around £30) and a simple way to cut heating bills. They typically cost around 2.7p per hour to run, so they are a much more efficient way to keep yourself warm than switching on your radiators – plus, you have an excuse to get some uni work done from your bed! 

  1. Charge electrical devices at the library for free

If you’re someone who works better at the library, make sure you make the most of all the free electricity while you’re there! Don’t leave until your phone, laptop, tablet, and other gadgets are fully charged.   

  1.  Take shorter showers

Reducing the time you spend in the shower can have a dramatic effect on your energy bill (and your water bill if you have a water meter). Taking a daily ten-minute shower can cost around £12 per month in energy bills. If you live with three other students, that’s nearly £50 a month just on showering. Try to keep your showers to around five minutes (unless you’re washing your hair or getting ready for a big night out).   

  1. Remember to send your meter readings

If you forget to send your meter readings, your energy company will estimate your usage, and sometimes they can massively overestimate! Always remember to send your meter readings each month (unless you have a smart meter installed). 

We’ve got a complete guide on taking your meter readings if you’re not sure how to do this.  

  1. Wash your clothes at a lower temperature

Most of your clothes will get perfectly clean when washed at 30ºC, so there’s no need for higher temperatures. Plus, you can use a colour catcher to avoid any colours from running when you wash clothes of different colours. This will stop you from wasting energy washing that one white top you own! 

At Split The Bills, you don’t have to worry about the amount of energy you’re using.  If you go over your predicated usage, you’ll still pay the same amount each month, which will help you budget better! 

Simplify your student household bills with Split The Bills 

Paying your household bills as a student can be a real challenge, especially when your energy bills fluctuate from month to month, making it almost impossible to budget effectively. Not to mention the stress of splitting all the bills between your housemates and trying to make sure everyone pays on time.   

Split The Bills offers a simple way to split your household bills without any of the usual hassles. We’ll find the best deals, set up your utility accounts and direct debits, and calculate how much everyone needs to pay – all you need to do is pay one bill each month! 

You can choose the services you want included in your package, including gas, electricity, water, and even a TV Licence (if you plan on watching live TV). Best of all, your gas and electricity plan is uncapped, giving you peace of mind about your monthly bill. However, it’s still important to think about the planet and consume energy responsibly to lower your carbon footprint. So, the above methods are still worth adopting to keep doing your bit! 

If you want a simpler way to share your household bills, find out more about what we do or get in touch with our team! 

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