Energy Advice

energy | Citizens Advice Allerdale

Spending more time at home, energy costs increasing?

 

Our energy advisors can help you:

 

  • Get a cheaper energy deal
  • Check eligibility, apply for grants including the £140 Warm Home Discount
  • Be added to the Priority Services Register
  • Resolve disputes with your energy provider
  • With energy saving tips and advice

 

Switching to a new supplier

 

Things to consider before you switch:

  • whether you have a fixed-term contract that lets your supplier charge you a fee to leave – this is called an exit fee and you can check it on your energy bill
  • what the customer service rating is like for the potential new supplier
  • whether your current supplier offers a cheaper tariff – it will save you the effort of switching

Find out more about how we can help here 

 

 

Warm Home Discount Scheme

 

You might be able to get £140 off your electricity bill under the Warm Home Discount Scheme if you’re either:

  • getting the guarantee credit part of Pension Credit
  • on a low income

Check with your supplier to see if they offer the Warm Home Discount – not all suppliers are part of the scheme.

If you’ve applied for the Warm Home Discount but you switch supplier before you get the payment, you have to apply again with your new supplier. Your new supplier might have different rules about who gets the discount. This doesn’t affect you if you get the discount automatically, without having to apply.

 

Priority Services Register

 

If you find it hard to deal with your energy supply you could get extra help from your energy companies – for example, large print bills or more support during a power cut.

To get extra help, you can apply to be added to your electricity network priority services register. Your electricity network is the company that manages your electricity cables.

Your electricity network will give your details to your energy supplier so they can add you to their priority services register as well.

If you’re on these lists you’re given extra help with things like using your meter. You’re also given priority in case of an emergency, like a power cut. If you’re disabled, have a chronic illness or above a certain age, you may be eligible to be on a Priority Services Register.

You may be entitled to:

  • Advance notice if your energy supply is going to be interrupted.
  • Priority reconnection if your supply is interrupted (such as during a power cut).
  • Alternative facilities for cooking and heating if your supply is interrupted.
  • Extra help to use your meter or appliances.
  • Annual gas safety checks.
  • Free advice on being more energy-efficient.
  • Protection from cold callers with a password protection scheme to keep you safe.
  • Having your meter moved free of charge if it’s hard for you to use or read the meter.
  • Regular meter readings if you can’t read your meter.
  • Bills sent to a relative, carer or friend to help you check them.
  • Your bills and meter readings in braille, large print, audio tape, textphone or typetalk if you’re visually impaired.
  • Help during an emergency such as a power cut.

If you think you are eligible, call your energy supplier or contact us and we will be able to help you sign you up.

Check if you’re eligible

You’ll normally be able to get priority services if your energy companies class you as ‘vulnerable’. You could be classed as vulnerable if you:

  • are disabled or have a long-term health condition
  • are recovering from an injury
  • have mental health problems
  • don’t speak or read English well
  • have children under 5 or are pregnant
  • have reached your State Pension age

If your situation isn’t listed, you might still be able to sign up for priority services for other reasons – for example, if you’re recently bereaved or you’ve returned to living independently after some time in residential care.

 

Smart Meters

 

What is a smart meter?

Smart Meters are a new type of meter for gas and electricity. The Government wants fuel companies to offer all homes a smart meter by the middle of 2025. They are not mandatory, you do not have to accept a smart meter if you do not want one. However, over time old meters will no longer be available and only smart meters will be installed.

Unlike traditional meters, a smart meter sends your gas and electricity readings directly to your energy supplier so you don’t have to!

Plus, smart meters enable accurate, not estimate bills – meaning, you only pay for what you use.

How can a smart meter save you money?

A smart meter could help you with your local household budgeting. The in-home display (IHD) which you’ll receive with your smart meter, shows you in near-real time the amount of energy you use in pounds and pence. Allowing you to keep a closer eye on your energy spending habits.

This could help you find ways to reduce energy waste around your home and save money. For example, you could save around £35 a year by just remembering to turn your appliances off standby mode.

How else can a smart meter help you?

A smart meter enables accurate billing, helping to take the stress out of budgeting and putting you back in control.

Tariffs are what energy suppliers charge you for your gas and electricity. The information that smart meters provide could help you to work out if you are on the right tariff or if you should change your energy supplier. You could then change to them if you want to.

Smart meters could also help you to switch to a better energy deal, as you’ll have accurate energy usage information which can help you choose the supplier and tariff that suits you best.

What if I have a prepay meter?

No problem! With a smart prepay meter, it’s easier to see what remaining credit you’ve got left using your IHD, so you can avoid the lights turning off at the most inconvenient times. You can continue to top up your meter at a shop as well as the added benefit of being able to top up by phone and by text.

I rent my home. Can I still get a smart meter?

Yes, if you pay your electricity and/or gas bills and they’re addressed to you rather than your landlord you can get a smart meter. You don’t need your landlord’s permission to get a smart meter (although you should inform them). If you are not the bill payer, then you can ask your landlord to arrange a smart meter installation for you.

Are smart meters secure?

Yes. Both the in-home display (IHD) and the smart meter operate without the need to be connected to the internet. Rest assured, smart meters operate on a system, ensuring data is only visible to the energy supplier and authorised parties where consumer consent is given.

 

7 ‘Top Tips’ to lower your energy costs

 

1. Turn The Thermostat Down

The Energy Saving Trust says that by dropping your homes temperature by just one degree could save up to £85 a year on your energy bills.

2. Don’t ‘Standby’

By turning equipment off instead of leaving it on standby mode, you could save as much as £30 a year.

3. Keep Radiators Clear

If you have the space, try and avoid putting a sofa in front of the radiator as this blocks the heat to the room.

4. Shorter Showers

If everyone in your home cut their shower time by two minutes a day, you could save £20 a year.

5. Only Boil What You Need

Get into the habit of only boiling as much water as you need. Keeping the kettle full can be costly.

6. Wash At 30 Degrees

Many washing machines work just as efficiently at 30 degrees as they do when running on high temperatures.

7. Replace Your Lightbulbs

If you still use old fashioned lightbulbs, don’t wait for them to blow. Buy energy efficient replacements and start saving now. These bulbs can save you £45 over their lifetime.

 

Citizens Advice Allerdale offer energy advice appointments where we can check your eligibility for a £140 Warm Home Discount, help you switch energy suppliers to save more, resolve disputes with your energy provider and add you to the Priority Services Register (where applicable).

Book a telephone energy appointment please call or email:

Call 01900 604735

Email [email protected]

 

Frequently Asked Questions

 

How do I get to see an Energy Champion?
You need to ring 01900 604735 and request an energy appointment.

What do I need to being with me?
You will need to bring the latest energy bills you have received

Citizens Advice

Town Hall
Oxford Street
Workington
Cumbria
CA14 2RS

Call Us
01900 604 735

Office Hours:

Mon - Thurs 09:00 - 17:00
Friday 09:00 - 16:30

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