You can visit Biddulph Town Hall for advice.
The number of households experiencing fuel poverty is rising at the moment for several reasons:
• The cost of energy keeps increasing, which means we need to spend more of our income on paying these bills.
• Many of us live in draughty homes, from which lots of heat escapes and rely on heating systems that are old and inefficient. And because we do not have much money to spare, it is difficult to make our homes more energy efficient, which would reduce our bills.
• The general cost of living is rising and this is also putting pressure on our finances so we have less money to go around.
If you’re struggling to afford your gas and electricity bills, contact your supplier to discuss ways to pay what you owe them.
Your supplier has to help you come to a solution. You should try to negotiate a deal that works for both of you.
If you don’t try to negotiate with your supplier, they might threaten to disconnect your supply.
If you’re disabled, elderly or you receive benefits, you may be able to get other help paying your energy bills.
Winter Fuel Payment
The Winter Fuel Payment, to help you pay for heating during the winter, is paid annually and doesn’t affect any other benefits you may receive.
You must have been born on or before 5 April 1954 and meet certain requirements.
You can make a claim by phone or post. Visit the Government’s website – https://www.gov.uk/winter-fuel-payment – to find out if you’re eligible and what information you need to apply.
Cold Weather Payment
If you’re receiving certain benefits, you may be eligible for a cold weather payment when the weather drops below zero degrees Celsius for seven days in a row.
Visit the Government’s website – https://www.gov.uk/cold-weather-payment – for more information.
Warm Homes Discount Scheme
Check with your energy supplier(s) to see if they offer a Warm Home Discount, a one off £140 payment taken directly off your electricity bill.
You may be able to get the discount on your gas bill if your supplier provides you with both gas and electricity.
To be eligible you must be receiving the Guarantee Credit element of Pension Credit. You might also be able to receive it if you’re on a low income.
The discount must be claimed each year. For more information visit www.gov.uk/the-warm-home-discount-scheme or contact your supplier directly.
You may be able to get a grant to help make your home more energy efficient, to pay for things like better insulation and improvements to your boiler.
Visit the Governments website to find energy grants: https://www.gov.uk/improve-energy-efficiency.
Use the Energy Efficiency Calculator for personalised advice on what you can do to cut your energy bills.
Other Helpful Websites/Organisations:
Beat the Cold – An independent charity working to reduce the incidence of cold related illness and fuel poverty in Staffordshire.
They may be able to help you find a cheaper provider for gas and/or electricity or a grant or discount for home insulation and heating improvements.
These are their contact details:
Address: The Bridge Centre, Birches Head Road, Stoke on Trent ST2 8DD.
Phone Number: 01782 914915
Freephone: 0800 389 2258
Website URL: https://www.beatcold.org.uk
Groundwork’s Green Doctors – energy efficiency experts who visit you in your home and offer free, impartial advice and support to help you save energy, reduce your bills and stay warm and well.
Email: email@example.com. Tel: 01782 829909
Simple Energy Advice – www.simplyeenergyadvice.org.uk. Impartial and independent advice to help you reduce your energy bills and make your home warmer and greener.
Turn 2 Us – www.turn2us.org.uk. A national charity, use their grants search to look for funds that might be able to give you a grant or other types of help.
What changes can you make to reduce your energy costs?
You might be able to save money by making your home more energy efficient and by changing your habits to use less electricity and gas – for example:
• Contact your energy supplier(s) to see if you’re on the cheapest tariff.
• Using your central heating effectively. You’ll use more energy if your heating system doesn’t work or isn’t set up properly. Use timers and thermostats if you have them to only heat your house when necessary. Try turning the thermostat on your heating down by one degree.
• You might be able to reduce your bills by adding insulation or installing a better heating system. You might be able to get a home energy grant to help pay for the improvements.
• Running your washing machine, drier or dishwasher, if you have them, at a lower temperature setting and making sure you only use with a full load. Driers use lots of electricity – drying your clothes outside can help to reduce your bills.
• Using LED or other energy-efficient light bulbs.
• Turning off plug sockets at the wall if you’re not using them, rather than leaving appliances on standby – don’t leave your TV switched on if you’re not watching it, unplug chargers and switch off lights when not in use.
• Closing your curtains after dark to keep in heat when it’s cold.
• Keep your radiators clear. For example, do not put a large sofa in front of the radiator as it will absorb a lot of the heat.
• Making sure your fridge is set between 3-5 degrees and defrost your freezer regularly. Avoid putting warm food in your freezer as it makes it work harder, allow food to cool down first.
• Putting lids on saucepans when cooking and not overfilling kettles – only boil as much water as you need. Use a steamer or microwave if possible. Use the kettle to boil water for cooking, instead of heating a pan on the stove. Not only will this be more efficient, but it generally takes less time too.
The average person in the UK uses 150 litres of water each day. Here’s some examples of how to reduce that:
• Turn off the tap when you brush your teeth.
• Place a cistern displacement device in your toilet cistern to reduce the volume of water used in each flush.
• Take a shorter shower.
• Fix a dripping tap.
• Install a water butt to your drainpipe and use the collected water to water your plants, clean your car and wash your windows.
• Mulch your plants and water in the early morning or late afternoon to reduce evaporation.
• Invest in water-efficient goods when you need to replace household products. You can now get water efficient showerheads, taps, toilets, washing machines, dishwashers, etc.
Enter your postcode into Severn Trent Water’s website: https://www.stwater.co.uk/ and answer a few questions about how you use water to order free water saving products tailored to your home, arrange a free leak repair visit and get personalised tips and advice for saving water.
Energy Costs Cafe – Saturday 19 March 2022
Working with a number of partners, such as Citizens Advice, Potteries Moneywise, Approach Dementia Care, Groundworks Green Doctors, etc, Biddulph Town Council hosted an Energy Costs Café for residents and businesses in the Town Hall to provide support and advice – an opportunity to find out how to reduce energy bills and maybe find a cheaper provider or details of a grant/discount.