About 15 million households are set to pay £100 a year more after three of the Big Six suppliers last week announced price hikes from April. It comes days after industry regulator Ofgem announced it was lifting two price caps because of rising wholesale costs.

Npower will hit customers with an average 10.3 per cent rise from April 1. E.on and EDF have announced similar hikes and the other three firms are expected to follow suit. But householders can save nearly £500 a year through nine energy-saving tips, compiled by independent supplier Utilita Energy. It says the biggest savings can be made by turning down the central heating thermostat. The average setting in UK homes is 68F (20.1C) but at 64F (18C) most people should be warm enough in jeans and a jumper.

Energy Saving Trust research shows turning down a room thermostat by just one degree can save up to £90 a year, so most people can save £180 in this way. Those whose heating is set at 70F (21C) or 71F (22C) all winter can save £270 or £360 a year by changing it to 64F.

Top nine tips that could slash annual energy bills

Turn down the central heating- £180

Clean lint filters on tumble dryer- £50

Shower for one minute less- £40

Turn plasma TV off at the set- £35

Don’t leave anything else on standby-  £30

Wash up in a bowl, not the sink-  £30

Only fill kettle with water you need- £7

Switch off lights you don’t need- £15

Wash clothes on 30c………………………… – £16

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