Support for the people of Medway

 

Energy Advice

 

On April 1st, 2022, the energy price cap will increase by 54% to £1,983 bringing annual energy bills to a generational high and contributing to an almost unprecedented cost of living crisis in terms of speed and scale.
in January 2022 more than 270,000 people sought help from Citizens Advice, we suspect that this will continue following the increase in energy rates.
Citizens Advice fully understand that finances can be though, which is why we have set out some Advice below on what support is available for you if you’re struggling with affording your Energy Bill.

 
 

If you’re on Low Income or Benefits

Your supplier may have schemes available to support those on Low Incomes with the cost of their Energy Bill. You will need to discuss the different tariffs available with the supplier directly, once you have this information, it may be a case of comparing them to find the best deal. You have use our Energy Comparison Tool to help with this.
You can also appraoch our Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline for Advice surrounding this. They can be reached on 0808 223 1133.

 

Cold Weather Payments

Cold Weather Payments are one-off payments to help you pay for extra heating costs when it’s very cold. You’ll get a payment each time the temperature drops below a specific temperature for a set period.
Qualifying Benefits for this include:

  •     Pension Credit
  •    Income Support
  • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
  •  income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  •   Universal Credit


If you’re in debt to your energy supplier

The following energy suppliers offer grants to their customers:

 

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

Call our Medway Office on 01634 383760 to arrange an appointment with FCA Approved Adviser or use our online Contact Form.

 

Local energy grants

You may get an Energy Grant from Simple Energy Advice which is an orginsiaion that provides Government Endorsed Advice. Please find below link which will direct you to the options available.
Home energy grants — Simple Energy Advice

 

Warm Home Scheme

The Government has announced it will continue with plans to increase the warm home discount by £10 (not exactly huge since it has been the same for eight years while energy prices have more than doubled in the last year alone).

It also plans to extend the eligibility criteria so an additional 780,000 households will qualify, meaning that about three million households in total will be able to benefit from next winter's scheme. We don't yet know who, it'll likely be more people on means-tested benefits.
The Warm Home Discount scheme requires suppliers with more than 150,000 customers to help vulnerable people in the UK pay for their energy each winter.
If you've a standard credit meter, the money isn't paid to you – it's a £140 rebate applied to your electricity bill between October and March. If you're on a prepay meter, you'll usually be sent a top-up voucher.
If you get Pension Credit which includes the Guarantee element, and your or your partner name is on the energy bill as of the 4th July 2021, this voucher may come to you automatically.

 

If you have a pre-payment metre

All suppliers offer a small amount of Emergency Credit which is usually around £5. You will usually have the option to use this once the current funds fall below a certain amount. (Usually, 50p for Electric and £2 for Gas.)
If you’re unaware of how to access these funds, you can contact your provider who will confirm. Any of the funds which have been used will be repaid next time you top up.

Your supplier can apply ‘Family Credit’ to your account. This means that you cannot be cut off during certain times if your metre runs out. These times can vary slightly depending on the supplier and season, but generally you won’t be cut off between 6am and 9am Monday – Saturday and on Bank Holidays. Any funds used throughout these times would need to be repaid upon you topping up.

 

If you can't afford to top up and you're facing self-disconnection


What you can get, and how this works and if you're eligible will depend on your supplier, so speak to them as soon as possible. Generally, additional support is for those which are deemed as ‘Vulnerable’ (Which usually entails those of State Pension age and those living with Health Conditions or Disabilities.) However, you may still get support if you’re not vulnerable. Its assessed case-by-case its important that you speak to your provider as soon as possible.

If you live with someone aged 66 or older

If somebody in your household was born on or before 26th September 1955, you could get up to £300 with the Winter Fuel Payment. Providing that you lived in the UK for at least one day between 20 and 26th of September 2021, regardless of your income, you can get a one-off tax-free Winter Fuel Payment
You should receive this automatically if you’re entitled. If not, you can call the Winter Fuel Payment Centre on 0800 731 0160

 

The Household Support Fund

Rishi Sunak has recently announced that the Household Support fund will be extended as part of the SpringBudget2022. £500 million of new funding will be passed to local authorities over the country to support families with the increased cost of living. The fund is aimed at providing small grants to meet daily needs, such as energy bills, as well as other utilities, housing costs, food and other essentials.
To find out more about this scheme, you would need to appraoch your local council to discuss applying.

The above provides some general pointers on where to go for support with the bills from a third-party point of view. However, there are small changes individuals can make within their home, which will decrease the amount you’re require to pay on your energy bills.

 

You can control or monitor the level of Energy usage within your home by making small adjustments. See our Advice below on the small adjudgments you could make which could save you hundreds of pounds.

 

Turn Down your thermostat.

For each degree you cut the thermostat, expect to cut bills by 4%-ish, or about £65 a year on average for a typical home.
World Health Organisation says that 18 degrees is enough for healthy adults, with slightly higher temperatures needed for the very old or young.

 

 

Explore Free Water-Saving Devices from your water provider.

Certain water providers offer free devices which can be fitted to your Shower, Toilet Systems, or Garden Hose. Having this applied to your systems can save you a family of four £75 on their Gas Bill, and £120 on their Water.
You can request these devices free of charge however the availability of these depend on things such as your provider, and the area you live in. You would need to appraoch your provider directly to confirm how to obtain these.

 

Check that you’re using LED Light Bulbs.

LED Light bulbs use 75% less energy than regular light bulbs. It has been confirmed by the Energy Savings Trust, that turning the lights off when you leave the room could save you £14 per year.

 

Check for Draughts

Double check your Windows, Doors, Chimneys, and Vents for Draughts. You Can purchase a number of Draught excluders from the market; however, you can also make one yourself using old materials. Martin Lewis has some handy pointers for this. Please find below link which discuss this further.
https://www.moneysavingexpert.com/utilities/free-cavity-loft-insulation/#thrifty
Implementing some draughts excluders within your home can cut your energy bill by 2%.  This also applies to chimneys too, where you can get a 1.5%0ish further reduction.

 

Cut your Shower time

Cutting just a minute off your shower time could save £75 a year in energy bills, and a further £105 a year in water bills if you have a meter – £180 a year for an average four-person household.
You could by a Shower Timer to record the length of time spent within the shower (or set an alarm on your phone.)

 

Wash Clothes Less and Avoid using the Tumble Dryer.

Try to do one fewer load of washing per week and avoid doing ‘Half Loads.’ The savings for this could equate to £10 a year.
You could also avoid using the Tumble Dryer where possible as this uses a lot of Energy. The Energy Savings Trust believe you can save up to £40 a year if you avoid using it. Try drying your clothes on an airer or radiator but remember to leave a window open as it can cause damp in poorly ventilated homes.

 

Reduce the Kettle usage.

Be conscious when filling your kettle, as over filling it could cost you £8 per year. ITs recommended that you purchase a smaller or a ‘one cup’ kettle, which boils the water for one cup at a time. This can save you up to £25 per year.

 

Don’t leave your devices on Standby

The Energy Savings Trust says that switching your devices off instead of placing them on standby could save you £40 per year. It's EU law that TVs and other devices made since 2013 can't use more than 0.5 watts in standby mode. To show the scale of it, a TV watched four hours a day and left on standby the rest of the time would cost 77p a year.

 

Use Radiator Thermostats

If you spend majority of the time in one room, don’t heat the whole house. Thermostatic radiator valves are an extra control which you can use to set the temperature of each individual room, these are usually found on each radiator. Once switched off, this will stop water flowing through that particular radiator. The Boiler will still send water to the ones which are on but will use a lot less energy.
This could reduce your overall bill by 6%, so about £85 per year on average.

 


If after you have explored the above, you’re still struggling to keep on top of your Bills, your best option would be to appraoch your provider directly. The rules from Regulator Ofgem confirm that your supplier must help you – usually by arranging a suitable payment plan which you can afford. Do no worry about disconnection. Support measures were put in place during the coronavirus pandemic preventing suppliers from disconnecting Standard Credit Meters.

Citizens Advice Medway have been offering Debt and Money Advice for many years, dealing with several increases to the costs of living in the past. Therefore, if you need any support from the team with arranging Payment Plans, Disputing Debt Liability, or discussing Debt Solutions, please leave your contact details within the link below, a member of the team will then be in touch to arrange an appointment.

 

https://www.medwayadvice.org.uk/get-in-touch

 

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