Your Home Energy Checklist
Follow these steps to help you manage your energy bills and keep your home warm
Take a meter reading
Take regular meter readings and submit them to your energy supplier as this will help you keep an eye on your energy use and keep your bills accurate.
If you receive a bill and it has an ‘E’ marked against the meter reading then this means it is ‘estimated’ by your supplier. You may not be paying the right amount for your energy. Having several estimated readings can sometimes lead to large unexpected bills.
Meters are read from left to right. Don’t include any numbers that are red or in a red box.
Contact your supplier to discuss your energy debt
If you are in debt to your energy supplier and struggling to get on top of it, then speak to your supplier as soon as possible. If they know there is a problem they can work with you to find a solution.
Ask to set up a payment plan and be realistic about what you can afford to repay. You don’t want to leave yourself short for other essential bills.
If your supplier suggests you have a prepayment meter fitted to repay the debt and you aren’t happy with that option, you don’t have to agree to it. Get information on other repayment options before making a decision.
You can also get advice on energy debt from Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline on 03454 040506 or your local Citizens Advice Bureau. TextRelay users should call 18001 03454 040506.
Maximise your income
Make sure you are claiming the correct benefits. This could increase your income as well as make you eligible for other types of assistance. Take advice from Citizens Advice on 03454 040506 or visit www.gov.uk/browse/benefits.
Check if you can receive other discounts and benefits
Ask your energy supplier if you are entitled to a Warm Home Discount. This is a discount of £140 on electricity bills for the winter period 2016-17. Those who receive the Guarantee Credit element of Pension Credit are eligible, as are some other low-income and vulnerable households.
If you were born on or before 5 August 1953 you should be eligible for the Winter Fuel Payment. This is an annual payment of between £100 and £300. You will be paid automatically between November and December if you have claimed before or are in receipt of State Pension or some other benefits. Others will need to apply for it. Call the Winter Fuel Payment Helpline on 03459 151515.
The Cold Weather Payment of £25 per week will be paid automatically to those on certain benefits when very cold weather occurs or has been forecast.
Register for priority services
You can sign up to the Priority Services Register to receive extra help from your energy supplier as well as from your distribution network operator (the company that operates and maintains your electricity supply).
You can receive the services available if you:
- are of pensionable age
- are disabled or chronically sick
- have a long-term medical condition
- have a hearing or visual impairment or additional communication needs
- are in a vulnerable situation including certain mental health conditions, physical injury as well as temporary situations of vulnerability
- have a child under 5 living with you
Each energy supplier and network operator maintains its own register.
A wide range of support is available including:
- information provided in accessible formats
- advance notice of planned power cuts
- identification scheme, password protection and nominee scheme for a family member or carer on behalf of the customer
- priority support in an emergency
- arrangements to ensure that it is safe and practical for the customer to use a prepayment meter
- meter reading service
Contact your gas/electricity supplier and distribution network operator for more information and to register. Details of your distribution network operator can be found on your electricity bill.
Check to see if you are getting the best deal for your energy
You could save hundreds of pounds a year on your bills by switching supplier or changing tariffs with your current supplier. Use one of the price comparison sites listed below, which should all display the Ofgem Confidence Code logo. Have a copy of your most recent bill to hand as this should tell you how much energy you have used in the past year.
Make sure that the supplier also offers you any discounts you may be entitled to such as the Warm Home Discount, and any special tariffs you need such as Economy 7 or Economy 10.
If you have a smart meter you should still be able to switch but you may lose the ‘smart’ functions of your meter.
Ofgem accredited price comparison sites
|energyhelpline.com||0800 074 0745|
|energylinx.com||0800 849 7077|
|moneysupermarket.com||0800 177 7087|
|myutilitygenius.co.uk||0203 468 0461|
|simplyswitch.com||0800 011 1395|
|ukpower.co.uk||0800 860 6844|
|unravelit.com||0333 344 0031|
|uswitch.com||0800 688 8244|
Use your heating and hot water controls
Make sure you are using your boiler and heating controls correctly and use the programmer to set up the system to match your needs. For example, setting your heating to come on half an hour before you get up in the morning.
Use a room thermostat to control the temperature in your home. Ideally this should be set between 18oC and 21oC but some people may need it higher.
Remember not to leave electric hot water immersion heaters on for longer than you need as this wastes energy and money.
Use night storage heaters correctly
Some homes have night storage heaters. These build up heat overnight when electricity is cheaper, which is then released throughout the next day. Homes with storage heaters should be on an Economy 7 or Economy 10 tariff.
If you are not using your storage heaters correctly you could be faced with a large bill. Contact the Energy Saving Advice Service on 0300 123 1234 or go to nea.org.uk/advice.
Make your home energy efficient
Blocking drafts can be a cheap way of making your home warmer. Draught-proofing products are available at DIY stores. Close curtains at dusk to keep the heat in, and use thermal underlay on any carpets. Loft and cavity wall insulation can also make a big difference to bills and comfort, as can replacing an old boiler. You may be eligible for free or discounted insulation or boiler replacements. Contact the Energy Saving Advice Service on 0300 123 1234.
Carbon monoxide is a deadly gas that cannot be seen, smelled or tasted. It can be produced by fuel burning appliances in your home such as a gas boiler.
Take the following steps to protect yourself and your family:
1. Make sure that fuel burning appliances such as fires, boilers and gas cookers are regularly serviced by a qualified engineer. For gas appliances engineers should be Gas Safe registered, for oil appliances OFTEC-registered and for solid fuel appliances HETAS-registered. Ask your engineer for proof of their registration.
2. Install an audible Carbon Monoxide alarm. These can be bought from DIY stores, supermarkets and high street shops; they cost around £15 and could save lives!
3. Know the danger signs. These are:
- Gas flames burning orange or yellow instead of the normal blue
- Soot stains on or above the appliance
- Coal or wood fires that burn slowly or go out
If you rent your home then by law landlords have to carry out an annual safety check of gas appliances in the home and provide you with a Gas Safety Certificate. If you haven’t already seen the certificate ask your landlord for a copy.
If you are a homeowner and on certain benefits you may be eligible for a free annual gas safety check. Contact your gas supplier to check your eligibility and ask about registering with their Priority Services Register.
- If you smell gas call the 24 hour Gas Emergency Hotline on 0800 111 999
- If you have a power cut call the national power cut phone line on 105
For further information on how to stay safe go to co-bealarmed.co.uk.
Avoid damp and condensation
When it is cold, condensation can be a big problem in many homes. Try the following:
- Keep temperatures in all rooms above 15°C. This will reduce condensation forming on outside walls
- Insulate your home
- Keep your home ventilated. Make sure vents and air bricks are not covered or obstructed
- Try not to dry washing in the house. If you do, use an airer and don’t dry clothes on radiators
- Open window trickle vents during the day or when going out
- Wipe down windows/mirrors/tiles/shower with an absorbent cloth
- Open windows after bathing or washing and leave them open for a short while to release steam if it is safe to do so
You can download this information as a booklet by clicking here.
Published on 21-11-2017