With rising energy prices, you might be worried about how you’re going to stay warm and afford your other household bills.
There are a lot of things you can do to save money on your energy bills.
We have a fuel poverty team who can help you if you’re struggling with your energy bills and avoiding heating your home. Please get in touch, we can help. Call 01732 749400 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Here are some ways you can reduce your energy costs:
Warm Home Discount
You could get £140 off your gas or electricity bill for winter 2021 to 2022 under the Warm Home Discount Scheme. The money is not paid to you - it’s a one-off discount on your electricity bill, between October and March.
You could qualify for the Warm Home Discount Scheme if:
- you get the Guarantee Credit element of Pension Credit - known as the ‘core group’
- you’re on a low income and meet your energy supplier’s criteria for the scheme - known as the ‘broader group’
Cold Weather Payments
You may get a Cold Weather Payment if the average temperature in your area is recorded as, or forecast to be, zero degrees celsius or below over 7 consecutive days.
You’ll get £25 for each 7 day period of very cold weather between 1 November and 31 March.
You could qualify for Cold Weather Payments if you receive certain benefits or Support for Mortgage Interest.
Winter Fuel Payments
If you were born on or before 26 September 1955 you could get between £100 and £300 to help you pay your heating bills. This is known as a ‘Winter Fuel Payment’.
You will get your Winter Fuel Payment automatically (you do not need to claim) if you’re eligible and either:
- get the State Pension
- get another social security benefit (not Housing Benefit, Council Tax Reduction, Child Benefit or Universal Credit)
Green Doctors - in partnership with Kent County Council - can provide advice and support to those in need.
You'll need to have a telephone consultation first. To make an appointment, visit the Green Doctors website and complete the enquiry form or call 0800 233 5255.
Grants to help pay off your energy debts
If you’re in debt to your energy supplier, you might be able to get a grant to help pay it off.
The following energy suppliers offer grants to their customers:
- British Gas Energy Trust (these grants are available to anyone - you don’t have to be a British Gas customer)
- Scottish Power Hardship Fund
- Ovo Energy Fund
- E.ON Energy Fund
- E.ON Next Energy Fund
- EDF Energy Customer Support Fund.
When you apply for a grant, you'll have to provide detailed information about your financial situation in your application. Contact us if you need help completing a budget calculator.
Energy Bill Discount Scheme
Households will receive a £200 cash discount on their bills this Autumn in monthly instalments. The government will provide funding to all suppliers for them to pass on to their domestic energy customers from October.
Switching your provider
Energy providers, like insurance companies, change their prices and can often lead to you paying more than you need to for your household bills.
Switching providers might mean you get a better deal. Energy providers offer a range of different tariffs, so it's important you know which is the best and most suitable one for you and your family.
- Fixed/capped tariff – this means the cost of energy won’t go up, unless you use more or less than predicted. This is usually on a contract for 12 months.
- Variable/standard tariff – the cost of your energy is subject to change and can go up at any point and are often more expensive than fixed/capped tariffs, but you aren’t tied into a contract.
- Prepayment meters – you have to pay as you go.
- Green tariff – the eco friendly option where your energy comes from renewable sources such as wind or solar. They are often more expensive, but they do reduce your carbon footprint.
You should use a comparison site to find out which provider can offer you the right tariff at the best price.
Temporary credit if you can’t afford to top up your meter.
If you've run out of gas or electricity, your energy supplier should give you temporary credit if you can't top up, for example because:
- you can't afford it
- you're having problems topping up
Your supplier might add the temporary credit to your meter automatically - if they don’t, you should ask for it as soon as you can. You can check your supplier’s website to find out how to get temporary credit.
If you need extra temporary credit, you should explain your situation to your supplier. They might give you extra temporary credit if you’re:
- disabled or have a long term health condition
- over state pension age
- struggling with your living costs
You’ll have to pay any extra temporary credit you get back - you can agree how to pay it back with your supplier.
If you need a normal meter
Prepayment meters can be more expensive than normal meters. Your supplier has to replace your prepayment meter with a normal meter (one that lets you pay for energy after you use it, rather than before) if you have a disability or illness that makes it:
- hard for you to use, read or put money on your meter
- bad for your health if your electricity or gas is cut off.
Preventing damp and mould
Ventilation, as well as heating your home is vital in reducing damp and mould, but we know some residents are struggling with their energy bills and this can impact the condition of their homes.
You should let us know if you notice any damp in your home. You'll be asked to wipe down any mould, monitor the issue and avoid things like drying clothes inside.
For more information on preventing damp and mould, please see our dedicated webpage.
Doors and windows
Closing curtains and using draught excluders can help to prevent heat escaping from your rooms.
Following feedback from our residents, we’re also prioritising door and window replacements in our homes. Some of our homes have doors and windows that although are still working, aren’t at their best. We’ve taken feedback on board and are now changing our ‘just in time’ approach (replacing them when they are no longer fit for purpose), to replacing them before they reach the end of their lifespan.
We are mindful of the cost of living and how doors and windows can cause higher energy bills. So, we’re prioritising replacements in homes where residents are claiming benefits and we know the energy efficiency rating is low. If you’re waiting for a new door or windows, please don’t contact us, we’ll be in touch with you to let you know when your replacement is scheduled.
If you can’t change your provider at the moment, or you run on a meter, there are still lots of things you can do to keep your bills down.
- Keep the warmth in the room by closing the curtains when it gets dark – and consider hanging thicker curtains.
- Leave the oven door open when you have finished cooking so that the heat warms the kitchen – but not if you have small children or pets in the house.
- When you leave a room, or you’re going out, make sure all the lights are turned off
- Turn your appliances off at the plug and don’t leave them on standby
- If you have a bath leave the water in when you’ve finished so the heat can warm the room – but again, be careful if you have small children or pets in the house.
- Check all of your taps to make sure they’re not dripping
- Fill up the washing machine and wash clothes at a lower temperature
- Make sure you’re paying the right amount by giving regular meter readings to your energy provider.
- Check to see if you are eligible to receive additional benefits or discounts e.g. working tax credits or the warm home discount.
If you're struggling it's really important that you speak to us. Contact email@example.com or calling 01732 749400.