A few days ago, I received a letter from my supplier of domestic LPG. It told me that, since wholesale prices for gas have increased by 30.8% (hmmm; accurate = scientific), they are going to have to put a major hike on the price of delivered gas, but they can assure me that the price will be reduced again as soon as possible (click here).
Fair enough - not unexpected. I am embarrassed that it should have required the possibility of financial cost, but this has encouraged me to get on with something I failed to do last winter, which is to check the on/off times for our heating system. It turns out that on weekdays it was coming on at 05:30, which dates from the time when my wife had to get up extra early to deliver our son to the school bus, and switching off in the evening at 00:30 - this because the same son used to sit up late playing video games, and liked sauna-like temperatures while he was doing it. Since he is now gone to college, I reprogrammed the timer, and it will now come on at 07:00 and turn off at 22:30, with a sensible off-period during the day.
I estimate I have reduced the "switched on" time for heating by about 34%. Of course, the whole system is subject to thermostatic valves, and we will certainly continue to wash, but I am confident that I have just about cancelled out the expected increase in my gas bills by the simple expedient of being stingy. Excellent, and I am positively glowing with pride at the benefits for the environment.
I realise that a similar approach to offsetting an electricity hike will require dirtier clothes, cold food and more sitting in the dark, but so far so good.