Following a 10-minute warm-up, my most pressing concern as I enter the swimming pool is usually: will this morning’s water temperature be warm or not?

Over the past few weeks, my fellow swimming club members and I suspected that come early October, the pool temperature was likely to be freezing as the private company running the council-owned leisure centre sought to save money as the global energy crisis hits home.

Jumping into two metres of deliciously warm water came as a pleasant surprise last Monday, although our club membership fees are scheduled to rise by 31% later this month.

Unless you’ve been living on Mars, you will be conscious of the fact that since October 1, the running costs of domestic electrical appliances have risen by more than 80%, while the kilowatt hour (kWh) cost of gas has more than doubled.

Wholesale gas and electricity prices were already rising in the second half of 2021 due to a surge in global demand as economies emerged from pandemic lockdowns. Such was the strength of demand that gas supplies couldn’t be produced rapidly enough and commodity prices rose. Between 2019 and late 2021, wholesale gas prices rose 11-fold.

The situation worsened earlier this year when Russia invaded Ukraine, allowing President Putin to engage in asinine games with Western Europe, randomly switching gas supplies on and off, thereby augmenting his resemblance to a modern-day Bond baddie.

But why do surging gas prices have a direct effect on the cost of Britain’s electricity? There are two main reasons.

First, an estimated 85% of UK households use gas boilers to warm their homes and approximately 40% of electricity is generated by gas-fired power stations.

Second, the wholesale electricity market is almost always determined by the prevailing cost of gas, an arrangement which pushes UK prices even higher.

These two factors highlight the urgent need for Britain to secure its energy supply, perhaps by taking a lead from the French and their approach to energy security.

While countries like Germany remain at the mercy of Mr Putin’s whims when it comes to securing enough gas to heat homes, the French go about matters a little differently.

EDF, France’s state-owned energy monopoly, must offer more than 25% of its energy production to suppliers at a massive discount to the wholesale price. France’s cheap energy is generated from the country’s 56 nuclear reactors, each managed by EDF. By contrast, the UK has nine nuclear power stations which supply around one fifth of our requirements.

So how does a global energy overview translate into everyday outgoings?

From this week, the annual cost of operating a normal fridge-freezer will rise by 84% (from £69 to £127), while the cost of showering for five minutes has more than doubled – from 8p to 18p. Boiling a litre kettle of water has also risen from 3.1p to 5.7p.

Individually, these costs do not sound excessive, but over the course of a year their cumulative impact will, for the vast majority of people, become startlingly noticeable.

Ken Carter, of personal finance website, says: “We should not ignore the running costs of small domestic appliances [because] they account for a significant proportion of increases in the cost of living.

"It is possible to save money by installing solar panels, improving the insulation in your home, or even trading in your existing petrol or diesel-fuelled car for an electric version, but you must take account of the payback time.”

According to the Renewable Energy Hub, if properly maintained, “solar panel installations should last between 20 and 25 years, [while] the initial cost can normally be offset within 12-18 years”.

Meanwhile, the average price of an electric vehicle is around £44,000, although this figure includes the cost of ‘luxury’ marques such as Jaguar and Mercedes which will set you back by an average of £80,000.

It takes time to save significant sums of money, but clearly we can all begin by making a series of small savings: by unplugging devices when they’re charged, for example, or adding thermostatic valves to radiators to control the central heating.

I asked Mr Carter whether my post-swim shower is good news for our household budget. “If you normally spend five to six minutes in a boiler-powered shower at home, you will save around £1 a week, assuming you use the club’s facilities five days a week.”

Saving £50 a year sounds like a no-brainer to me – a case of looking after the pennies and the pounds will look after themselves. This is a mantra of which we should all be conscious.

For more financial advice, check out Peter Sharkey’s regular blog, The Week In Numbers.

This column is for general information only and cannot be relied on as financial advice for individuals. Consult your professional adviser.