Struggling to afford the cost of energy? Grants, Contacts & Tips

Andrew Guy

5th February 2022

Save the Green Space/Play Park at Holborn Riverside Campaign Group
National Energy Action estimates another two million UK households could be plunged into fuel poverty by April 2022, bringing the total to six million by the end of the year. Average bill is going up by £700, £500 of this is due to wholesale fossil fuel prices, and £200 from collapsed energy suppliers.

Grants

👉 Are you eligible for free loft, cavity wall insulation and a new boiler grant? https://www.simpleenergyadvice.org.uk/grant-eligibility/questionnaire

 

👉 Winter Fuel Payment – The Winter Fuel Payment is a payment of between £100 and £300 to help towards your winter heating bills. If you were born on or before 26 September 1955 and you get the State Pension or another social security benefit, then you may be eligible. https://www.gov.uk/winter-fuel-payment

 

👉 Warm Home Discount – The Warm Home Discount is a one-off discount of £140 off your winter electricity bill between September and March
You may be eligible if you claim the Guarantee Credit element of Pension Credit or are on a low income. https://www.gov.uk/the-warm-home-discount-scheme/energy-suppliers

 

👉 Cold Weather Payments – You could receive a payment of £25 if the average temperature in your area drops below zero degrees for seven days in a row.
You may be eligible if you claim certain means-tested benefits. https://www.gov.uk/cold-weather-payment/eligibility

 

👉 South Tyneside Council Crisis and Hardship expenses – If you have a financial crisis or need help with your daily living expenses because you are experiencing exceptional hardship, you can apply for short term financial help. This can help to pay for:
* Food
* Gas
* Electricity
Applications will be considered on a case by case basis. You will need to provide proof of your circumstances.
https://www.southtyneside.gov.uk/article/35031/Local-Welfare-Provision

 

👉 Grants from suppliers if you are in debt with them – 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
* Scottish Power Hardship Fund
* Ovo Energy Fund
* E.ON Energy Fund
* E.ON Next Energy Fund
* EDF Energy Customer Support Fund

 

If you can’t get a grant from your supplier, check if you can get a grant from the British Gas Energy Trust. These grants are available to anyone – you don’t have to be a British Gas customer.

 

When you apply for a grant, you’ll have to provide detailed information about your financial situation in your application. It could take a while to complete, and it might be worth getting help from a friend or family member. You can also talk to an adviser for help filling in forms.

It’s worth checking on the trust or fund website if there’s anything else you need to do before you apply.

For example, if your supplier is E.ON, E.ON Next or EDF, you’ll need to show you’ve completed a budget sheet with a Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) approved adviser. To do this:
1. Find an adviser using the debt advice locator on the Money Helper website
2. Check if the adviser or their firm is on the FCA register
3. Contact the adviser to arrange a conversation where you’ll complete a budget sheet
You can get ready for your conversation by using the Budget Planner on the Money Helper website.

 

👉 Prepayment meters – Check if you can get extra temporary credit. If you need extra temporary credit, you should explain your situation to your supplier. They might give you extra temporary credit if they think you’re ‘vulnerable’ – for example, 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 on how to pay it back with your supplier. To get extra temporary credit, you should tell your supplier if:
* you’ve run out of gas or electricity
* you’re limiting the amount of gas or electricity you use to save money – for example, if you can’t afford to put the heating on.

Helpful Contacts

👉 ACTS Age Concern Tyneside South provide free impartial advice and support for people in South Tyneside to maximise their income, energy advice and debt management. Tel Number: 0191 4566903

👉 Citizens Advice consumer helpline: 0808 223 1133

👉 National Energy Action advice helpline: 0800 304 7159 (Mon-Fri, 10 am to 12 pm)

👉 Step Change Debt Advice: https://www.stepchange.org/how-we-help/debt-advice.aspx

👉 National Debt Line – https://nationaldebtline.org

👉 Energy Saving Trust – https://energysavingtrust.org.uk/energy-at-home/

👉 Simple Energy Advice – www.simpleenergyadvice.org.uk

⚠️ Gas Leaks – 0800 111 999

⚠️ Power Cuts – 105

Helpful energy-saving tips

🏡 Turn off standby appliances
👉 Turn appliances off at the plug to save an average of £30 a year.
👉 Use plug sockets that can be turned on and off via your phone, to make sure you switch unused appliances off. You could use cheaper timer plugs to schedule turning appliances off.

🏡 Install a smart thermostat
👉 Smart thermostats and programmers can make your heating more efficient.
👉 They learn how long it takes to heat your home, so they can have it at the right temperature at exactly the right time. I’ve seen these reduce heating demands by up to 50% in older homes.
👉 They can also be controlled by your phone, which means you won’t have to come back to a cold home, and majority of these systems will automatically shut down the heating when you leave the home.

🏡 Turn down your thermostat
👉 Almost half the money spent on energy bills is absorbed by heating and hot water costs.
👉 Turning your heating down by just one degree could save up to £80 a year.
👉 Thermostatic Radiator Valves (TRVs) are a great for reducing energy bills and speeding up the time it takes for home to warm up. These are the numbered valves on the side of modern radiators. They control the room temperature, 1-5. Set living rooms between 3 and 4, bedrooms between 2 and 3, and bathrooms and the same room as the main thermostat to 5. Make small adjustments for the perfect temperature. Do not adjust the non numbered valve (a tool is normal required for this), it’s used to balance the system and ensure the correct pressures are present across all radiators.
👉For modern condensing boilers, adjust the central heating flow temperature on the boiler to around 55c. This will allow the boiler to condense and achieve its maximum efficiency. Older properties may need higher temperatures to warm the property correctly, experiment with this as every house is different. Setting the flow temp to the max setting will waste energy, whilst putting unnecessary stress onto the components.
👉Hot water flow temperature should be around 60c for a combi boiler, if you have a hot water cylinder, keep it above this temperature to prohibit legionaries growth. Heat pumps often run the cylinder at much lower temperatures, but will automatically ‘clean’ the cylinder once a week, I would avoid adjusting these systems without professional advice.

🏡 Buy efficient appliances
👉 Throwing out a perfectly good appliance won’t save you much money, but when it is time to swap, opting for one with a high energy-efficiency rating can be worth the investment.
👉 An A+++ energy rated washing machine will typically use £65 less energy than an A+ one over an 11-year product lifespan.
👉 A modern, efficient dishwasher will typically cost around £7 less a year to run compared to an older model.
👉 An A+++ fridge freezer will save around £320 in energy bills over its lifetime compared to an A+ model.

🏡 Install a new boiler
👉 You can save energy by upgrading your old boiler to a new A-rated condensing boiler with a programmer, room thermostat and thermostatic radiator controls.
👉 Based on fuel prices in March 2019, a detached house upgrading from a G-rated boiler could save around £300 a year. As the current energy prices have soared recently, this figure could be more like £500+ a year.

🏡 Wash clothes at a lower temperature
👉 Washing at 30 degrees rather than 40 degrees can help reduce your energy usage, and if you can cut out one wash cycle per week you’ll clip £5 off your annual energy bill.
👉 As we move out of winter, use the washing line. Tumbles dryers will now cost upwards of 70p an hour to run, nearly as much as parking!

🏡 Be smarter about water
👉 You can save around £25 a year by washing up in a bowl rather than using a running tap.
👉 Buying a more efficient showerhead can save you as much as £18 per person a year on energy bills, plus an additional amount if you have a water meter.
👉 If you fit a shower timer in your bathroom, you could save up to £7 per person each year by cutting just one minute off every shower.

🏡 Invest in double glazing
👉 Double glazing insulates your home from the cold and helps reduce your heating bill, as well as keeping the noise out.
👉 If your semi-detached home is entirely single glazed, you could save as much as £110 a year by installing A-rated double glazing.
👉 Unfortunately no grants currently exist to replace single or old double glazing units, investing in heavy curtains that can be closed at nighttime can significantly reduce heat losses. Opening them back up during the day means you may benefit from solar gain, heating the home for free!

🏡 Draught-proof your property
👉A cold draught can cause your home to lose heat, which makes it more tempting to turn the heating up. Draught excluders or draught-proofing kits are a good way to prevent this.
👉 Seal cracks in floors and skirting boards, line your letterbox and block an unused chimney to reduce your heating bills by up to £35 a year.
👉 Remember to continue to use extractor fans or leave a window ajar in the bathroom and kitchen when bathing and cooking. A build-up of condensation is the leading cause of mould and can be harmful to your health, especially children, the elderly and immunosuppressed occupants.

🏡 Insulate the roof
👉 Insulating your roof can stop heat escaping from your home, however, the process can be complicated so it may be best to employ an expert to do this.
👉 While insulating your loft can cost several hundreds of pounds, it can also shave around £135 off your energy bills each year if you live in a typical semi-detached house.
👉 Competent DIY’ers’ can insulate a roof to a good standard, but make sure you read plenty of advice online, taking extra caution around covering electric shower cables, and blocking the space between your eves – the loft needs to breathe. Use crawl boards over un-boarded lofts. Modern EarthWool available at hardware stores does not irritate and scratch, although care should be taken to avoid inhaling dust whilst working in a loft space. Suit and mask up!

🏡 Monitor your usage
👉 Keeping a watchful eye on your consumption levels can help you decide if and when you have to change the way you use energy.
👉 Installing a Smart Meter lets you track your consumption with accurate and real-time information, this, in turn, allows you to see exactly what energy is being used in your home and allows you to adapt your behaviour.
👉 Check if your property has an EPC, this will be able to guide you to more tailored recommendations. You can check and compare with other properties here ➡️ https://find-energy-certificate.service.gov.uk/find-a-certificate/search-by-postcode?lang=en&property_type=domestic

💚 If you need any further advice or support. Contact your ward councillor who will be able to signpost you to the relevant help 💚

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