How many times have you taken a glance at your annual utility bill and drawn an audible gasp when you realise just how much you’ve spent on your gas and electricity in the last 12 months?

But before you start cursing your energy provider, maybe reconsider. We’re spending more on our energy than ever before, with annual UK energy consumption increasing by 1.1% in 2018 but is there anything we can do about it? Actually, there is!

Below, we’ll underline the 10 most obvious reasons why your bills might be a little on the high side and how you can go about taking back control.

Gas prices – Gas and electricity bills have skyrocketed in recent years because the price of gas has increased.

As both are typically drilled for together, the price of one always impacts the other. There’s nothing you can really do about this, of course, but it’s always good to know.

Expensive tariffs – It’s quite common in the UK for homes to pay over £300 too much for their bills, simply because they are on an unnecessarily expensive tariff. Check with your provider and see whether you’re using enough energy to warrant the tariff you’re on.

Winter fuel – It’s only natural that we’ll use more energy during the colder months and with the winters in Britain getting more brutal in recent years, it’s likely that you’ve noticed a more dramatic increase in your bill when winter rolls around.

Powerful appliances – Dishwashers, fridges, washers and dryers all consume energy and if you’re running these appliances on regular ‘factory’ settings then it could really be giving your power supplier a decent payday.

Try running your appliances in their eco settings and consider leaving your clothes out to dry every once in a while, instead of always turning to the tumble dryer (which is a notorious energy hog).

Insulation – If your home is poorly insulated then all of that valuable heating your paying for will be escaping.

Consider hiring a professional heating engineer to advise you on how to insulate your home and you could be saving literally hundreds of pounds every year.

Gadget fiend – If you’re living in a very modern home that’s packed full of gadgets and gizmos then this could be part of the problem. Modern tech, particularly ‘smart’ or IoT tech, can use up a lot of power. Try remembering to switch items off when possible and limit your usage of power-hungry devices.

Your lights ain’t right – Are you still using old fashioned incandescent light bulbs? These will not only last under a thousand hours, but will use at least 5 times more energy than an LED bulb.

Switching out your old bulbs with more efficient LEDs could save you a small fortune. And you’ll spend less time changing bulbs too!

Bad programming – Have you been setting your thermostat to automatic? If so, you could perhaps be using more energy than necessary.

Generally speaking, if your thermostat is set to automatically somewhere above 20 degrees Celsius then you’re probably wasting money.

Inaccurate readings – Are you sure that you’ve been reading your metre accurately? Most providers ask you to input your readings online and if you’re misreading your metre then you could be paying for more energy than you’re actually using.

Of course, the most obvious way to ensure this doesn’t happen again is to have a smart metre installed.

There’s a problem – If none of the above rings true and your bills are still far higher than they should be then you might have a problem with your electrics or your gas. In that case, it’s time to call in an electrical or heating engineer and get to the bottom of the issue.