MILLIONS of households are being urged to check a number of appliances to help slash bills and prevent blackouts.

Price comparison site GoCompare says families should check for "vampire appliances" that can drain your energy when left on standby.

Not only that, but they could be adding hundreds to your bills and piling pressure on the energy network.

Gareth Kloet, energy spokesperson GoCompare, said: "We would encourage all UK householders to perform a "standby check" before leaving the house or going to bed.

"As well as checking windows are shut and doors locked, look at whether devices are turned off or merely on standby.

"Making sure TVs, radios and the WiFi are turned off overnight can help relieve strain on energy supplies – as well as curbing energy use in the home and saving a little money."

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Vampire devices can add hundreds to your bills, according to smart meter data analysts Loop.

Keeping your desktop computer plugged in at the end of the day could cost you an extra £95 a year.

Meanwhile, a faulty or unused set top-box recorder can add £179 to your bills.

Loop estimates keeping two 60 watt outside lights on for 10 hours a night could add £150 a year too.

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And keeping underfloor heating running for an extra hour per day could add £371 to your yearly bill.

So just these four vampire appliances could be adding an unnecessary £795 extra to your yearly bills.

It comes as the National Grid is set to run its first Demand Flexibility Scheme (DFS) tonight, January 23.

The scheme is designed to prevent blackouts by encouraging households to use energy during high demand periods or when energy supplies are low.

Under the service, households who use less electricity than they normally do during certain allotted hours are paid for the savings.

Who is eligible for the Demand Flexibility Service?

The DFS was originally trialled with Octopus Energy, and other suppliers have since joined.

This includes British Gas, EDF, E.On, Ovo Energy and Shell Energy.

You can contact your supplier about signing up to the service.

Once you have done this, your supplier will contact you via email or text when the service has been triggered.

Who is eligible and how much you could get paid depends on your supplier though.

Either way, you won't be able to take part unless you have a smart meter.

The National Grid ESO website has a list of approved suppliers who are part of the DFS.

What help can I get with my energy bills?

If you are struggling with your energy bills there's a range of support on offer.

A number of energy companies offer grants to customers who can't keep up with payments.

This includes British Gas, EDF, Scottish Power and Octopus Energy.

British Gas' fund is worth up to £1,500 for the most in need households – you don't even have to be a customer.

Millions of households should be in the process of receiving a £400 energy rebate too.

The payment has been split into six monthly instalments. The first two worth £66 were paid in October and November.

A further £67 payment was made in December, and the remaining three worth £67 should be paid in January, February and March.

The rebate should be paid as an automatic discount for the majority of customers.

But if you are on a prepayment meter you should receive vouchers that can be redeemed at your nearest top up point.

You might be able to get help through the Household Support Fund too.

The latest tranche of funding is worth £421 million and councils have until March 31 to allocate their share.

But many have already started handing the money out, or have already done so.

Eligibility criteria is different depending on where you live, as councils get to decide who to give the money too.

But, in most cases, the money is paid to households on a low income or benefits.

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If you want to see if you are entitled to a payment, you should contact your local council.

If you don't know who your local authority is, you can use the government's council locator tool found on its website.

Do you have a money problem that needs sorting? Get in touch by emailing [email protected]

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