Our energy-saving tips will help you save a few pounds as well as doing your bit for the planet.
Energy Advice Officers
Financial support from the government
The government has announced a new package to help with the cost-of-living crisis. This includes one-off payments that will be made to help with the increase in energy prices.
£400 ENERGY BILLS DISCOUNT TO SUPPORT HOUSEHOLDS THIS WINTER
Millions of households across Great Britain will receive non-repayable discounts on their energy bills this winter. Households will start receiving £400 off their energy bills from October 2022, with the discount made in six instalments to help families throughout the winter period.
Households will see a discount of £66 applied to their energy bills in October and November, rising to £67 each month from December through to March 2023. The non-repayable discount will be provided on a monthly basis regardless of whether consumers pay monthly, quarterly or have an associated payment card.
The discounts for different meter types are as follows:
- Direct Debit customers will receive the Energy Bill discount automatically as a deduction to the monthly Direct Debit amount collected, or as a refund to the customer’s bank account following Direct Debit collection during each month of delivery.
- Standard credit customers and payment card customers will see the Energy Bill discount automatically applied as a credit to standard credit customers’ accounts in the first week of each month of delivery, with the credit appearing as it would if the customer had made a payment.
- Smart prepayment meter customers will see the Energy Bill discount credited directly to their smart prepayment meters in the first week of each month of delivery.
- Traditional prepayment meter customers will be provided with redeemable Energy Bill discount vouchers or Special Action Messages (SAMs) in the first week of each month, issued via SMS text, email or post. Customers will need to redeem these at their usual top-up point.
There are further payments for those in receipt of certain benefits. The first category is means tested benefits.
Over 8 million households will receive a further payment of £650. The way this works is it will be split into two payments of £325, The Department for Work and Pensions will make the first payment in July 2022 of £325 and £325 in the autumn months.
This will go directly into the account where your benefits are paid. Those in receipt of tax credits will receive their payments from HM Revenue & Customs not DWP. Those payments will be slightly after DWP payments.
The means tested benefits that are included, you need to be claiming currently or before 25 May 2022:
- Child tax credit
- Income based job-seekers allowance
- Income related employment and support allowance
- Income support
- Universal credit
- Working tax credit
This will not affect your benefits in any way.
Those in receipt of certain disability benefits will get an additional payment of £150 in September 2022.
This is a one-off payment that will be paid directly into the account where you receive benefits and is designed to help with the cost of specialised equipment and food, and increased transport costs.
The eligibility is to be in receipt, or begun claiming before 25 May 2022 one of the following benefits:
- Armed Forces independence payment
- Attendance allowance
- Constant attendance allowance
- Disability living allowance
- Personal independence payment
- Scottish disability benefits
- War pensioners mobility supplement
This payment will not affect your benefits.
Pensioners can receive up to £600 with the winter fuel payment this year
The Winter Fuel payment scheme helps those aged 66 or above, this payment is between £100 and £300 currently.
This year, as a one off, it includes an additional £300 to help with the cost of living. This will be paid between November and December 2022.
Energy price cap increase
The price cap sets a limit on the maximum amount suppliers can charge for each unit of gas and electricity you use, and sets a maximum daily standing charge (what you pay to have your home connected to the grid).
That means there’s no upper limit to what you actually pay – if you use more energy, you’ll pay more, use less and you’ll pay less.
It only applies to providers’ standard and default tariffs, so if you’re on a fixed-term energy deal, the cap doesn’t apply. If you’ve not switched in the last year or so, it’s likely you’re on a capped tariff.
Previously, Ofgem updated the energy price cap twice a year. However, it has recently announced plans to update the cap four times a year from October.
That means – following the next price cap change in October – the cap is set to change in January, April, July and October.
The price cap changes are largely based on the costs suppliers face for providing energy – though there are a number of other factors that affect the cap.
For more information on the price cap and how it works, take a look at Money Saving Expert.
Help with the cost of energy bills
There are a few schemes that can help with grants and funding to help you save money on your energy bills.
- If you were born on or before 26 September 1955 you may qualify for a Winter Fuel Payment of up to £300.
- If you’re on a low income you might qualify for the Cold Weather Payment. You’ll get £25 per week in very cold weather.
- The Warm Homes Discount is a government-run scheme run with some energy suppliers. You’ll be sent a letter if you qualify and be paid some money back to help towards your heating bills.
- The government have launched additional support for vulnerable households this year. You can contact your local council to see if you’re eligible.
Save on heating
- Make sure you understand how your central heating works so you’re using the right settings for your home.
- If you have a heating programmer, check it’s on the right temperature for you and at the right time of day.
- Find out how to make the most of your storage heaters if you have them.
- If you need help with your heating system, just let us know.
- Get tips on saving energy on the Energy Saving Trust website.
Save on water use
There’s lots of different ways to reduce the amount of water you use. And if you’re on a water meter this can help as well.
Find out how to use less water when you shower, wash your clothes or even flush the toilet.
If you don’t have a water meter you can contact your supplier to find out if changing might save you money.
Some water suppliers now offer discounts for customers on a low income. Check here to see if yours offers a discount.
LEAP - Free energy advice service
LEAP is a free service that is helping people keep warm and reduce their energy bills without costing them any money.
LEAP has a wide network of referral organisations who will refer anyone who is in (or at risk of falling into) fuel poverty.
See how you can save by visiting the LEAP website and see if you’re eligible for help.
The energy market is in turmoil. Wholesale prices (the prices that firms pay) are at unprecedented highs and multiple energy firms have gone bust in 2021. What’s more, bills have just risen by a typical £139/year for millions, after regulator Ofgem hiked the price cap to its highest-ever level on 1 April 2022.
Unfortunately there are currently few deals that are meaningfully cheaper than the price cap right now. However there are sites and organisations that offer support and advice on energy and bills:
Energy and money saving tips from Guinness