The rising costs in energy continue to impact us all. As such, it is an important time to share what support, help, and guidance is available. To start saving money today, we’ve compiled a list of available options…
Energy Support, Advice & Guidance
- NEA’s WASH Advice Service
NEA’s WASH Advice Service is a free support service. It provides advice to householders in England and Wales on their energy bills. They can also help with benefits advice and ways to make the most of your income.
Contact: 0800 304 7159.
- Ofgem Advice for Households
Ofgem is Britain’s independent energy regulator. They work to protect energy consumers making sure they’re treated with fairness. They also work to make sure people benefit from a cleaner, greener environment.
- Warm Wales
Based in Port Talbot, Warm Wales are working to reduce fuel poverty across Wales. They provide free advice and guidance around fuel debt.
Contact: 01656 747 622
- Citizens Advice
Citizens Advice provide free, confidential information and advice on many issues. They can assist with everyday energy saving tasks. For example, how to read your meter and energy switching. They also provide advice on accessing funds to assist with paying your energy bills.
Contact: 0800 702 2020
- Energy Savings Trust
Energy Saving Trust is an independent organisation working to address the climate emergency. They provide information on how to save energy and lower your bills.
- Let’s Talk
Let’s Talk offers help to those with utility debt (both individuals and small businesses.) They provide free support around energy advice, money management and benefits.
Energy Discount Schemes & Hardship Funds
- Warm Home Discount
This UK-wide scheme can help with energy costs via a one-off discount of £140 on your electricity bill. Please be aware that each energy supplier has different eligibility criteria. Also, not every energy supplier participates in the scheme. Check with your energy supplier to see if you are eligible and how to apply. Most application windows open in the summer.
- Winter Fuel Payments
Winter Fuel Payments (WFPs) are annual one-off payments of between £100 and £300. These are paid to all eligible pensioner households to help with the cost of fuel. There are no income or savings limits for WFPs, and they are not taxable. For the winter of 2021-22, you will qualify for the WFP if you were born on or before 26 September 1955. You should not need to apply for the payment, as it is paid automatically.
- Cold Weather Payments
The 2020-21 Cold Weather Payment scheme will start on 1 November. You will be eligible for Cold Weather Payments for any week when the average temperature in your area has been, or is expected to be, 0°C or below for seven consecutive days. Also, you are receiving Pension Credit (or another ‘specified benefit’), and you are not living in a care home. You shouldn’t need to claim as payments are made automatically into your bank or building society account. Cold Weather Payments are £25 every 7 days of very cold weather between 1 November and 31 March. Cold Weather Payments do not affect other benefits.
- Priority Services Register
If you are of pensionable age, living with a disability, chronic illness or visual/hearing impairment (or someone in your household is), ask your energy supplier if you are eligible for its Priority Services Register. This provides free extra services and may help protect you from disconnection if you struggle to pay your energy bills (if your supplier has signed up to the Energy UK Safety Net scheme).
Water Bills – Welsh Water
- HelpU Tariff
The HelpU tariff helps low-income households by limiting the amount you have to pay for your water. How does it work? The HelpU tariff helps the lowest income households in Wales. They will cap your water bill if you qualify, so you won’t pay over a certain amount for the year. If you have a water meter, you will never pay more than the amount you have used. If your consumption is less than the HelpU cap amount, you will only be billed for the amount of water you have used. The annual HelpU charge is £250.00 (£108 for water, £142 for sewerage). The tariff is open from 1 August 2020.
- Customer Assistance Fund
The Customer Assistance Fund is designed to help those in severe financial hardship to clear debt and get on top of their payments. How does it work? If you’re successful in your application, they’ll set up a monthly, fortnightly or weekly payment plan for your current year’s charges. Once you have made payments for 6 months, they will pay off 50% of your previous arrears. If you make payments for a further 6 months, they will then pay off the rest of your previous arrears.
- WaterSure Scheme
If you already have a meter or have requested one, the WaterSure scheme puts a cap on the amount you have to pay for your water. How does it work? WaterSure caps your annual metered bill amount so you won’t pay over a certain amount for the year, no matter your actual consumption. The WaterSure Wales charge from 1 April 2021 to 31 March 2022 is £360 (£150 for water, £210 for sewerage). In addition, many energy companies will have hardship funds available to help customers who have fallen into debt due to the rising cost of energy bills.
- Heat the Human, Not the Home
Take a look at this guide for keeping yourself warm during the winter. This guide focuses on low cost ways to keep bills down, but your body temperature up.
- Energy Switching
Ofgem research finds that comparing and switching suppliers or energy tariffs can significantly affect your gas and electricity bills. Before you decide to switch, you should check which type of meter you have, find out if your contract has an ‘exit fee’ for leaving early – it’s usually on your bill, and look at your current supplier’s tariffs for comparison.
Suppose you’ve applied for the Warm Home Discount but have not yet received it. In that case, you’ll have to apply again if you switch suppliers – check if your new supplier has different eligibility requirements before confirming any switch. See below for some Ofgem accredited energy switching sites:
- Smart Meters
A smart meter is a handy device that helps you record how much electricity and/or gas your household uses. Smart meters allow customers to see how much energy they are using. A smart metre can be a great way of understanding which appliances are costing more to run and allow you to consider whether to reduce their usage. Smart meters also send your data accurately to the energy supplier meaning that bills are produced accurately instead of estimations, allowing you to budget better and not be hit with an unexpected bill. To install a smart meter, speak to your energy provider.