Fuel poverty affects more than 4.5 million households in UK. It can be caused by numerous factors: low income, poor heating and insulation and unaffordable energy prices. It can severely impact on health and well-being and contributes to excess winter deaths and rising NHS costs.
CCB delivers projects bringing advice and guidance on reducing home energy costs to families, vulnerable groups such as older people, and front-line workers in Berkshire. Helen Dean is the Project Co-ordinator for this work and can be contacted on 07894 099386 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The CCB Family Energy Education and Advice Project
This project will deliver 50 drop-in advice sessions or talks to low income families in Berkshire, and 4 training sessions to front-line workers who support low-income families. Sessions will be run in Slough, Bracknell, Wokingham, Windsor and Maidenhead, and West Berkshire. Helen is working in partnership with Children’s Centres across Berkshire, Homestart groups across the county, the WEA, and the Slough Community Learning and Skills Service. This valuable advice will enable vulnerable families to reduce their home energy costs by getting the best deal on their gas, electricity or oil and switch supplier where appropriate. Guidance will also be given to those on a low income to claim the benefits they are entitled to, and get help with insulation and boiler repairs/replacement. Helen will also advise how to reduce energy use at home. The Sackler Trust and Berkshire Community Foundation funds the delivery of this project.
Helen has received very positive feedback on the evaluation of her project work; advising families, and giving talks to frontline workers on how they can signpost/advise their families to reduce their home energy costs. These include:
•A comment from a mum at the session on the evaluation form after a 1:1 consultation; “Very useful and reminded me that it’s really worth looking into switching providers”.
•Feedback from a student after a talk to an English lesson for families in Slough; “Helen Dean gave a very good presentation about energy saving. It was really useful for us. She explained everything in details. Now I am glad to know new tips about energy saving, Thanks a lot.”
•At the Health Visitor staff training on held at a staff meeting in Slough; “Excellent advice, very useful for staff awareness” Sarah Parsons, Head of Slough Children’s Services.
Links to websites with useful information on reducing home energy costs
Comparing costs and switching supplier
For information on how to save money by switching energy supplier, visit: https://energycompare.citizensadvice.org.uk/
Warm Home Discount Scheme
This Warm Home Discount Scheme can provide a rebate off your electricity bill. People on low incomes, including families, pensioners, as well as people with long term illness or disabilities, may qualify for a rebate of £140 from their energy supplier, which is paid in the winter/spring. Pensioners on low incomes are paid the Warm Home Discount automatically, but all of those other groups stated have to contact their electricity supplier to claim this discount.
For more information on the Warm Home Discount, and how to claim it, visit https://www.gov.uk/the-warm-home-discount-scheme.
For a list of energy suppliers running the scheme, and links to their websites and online application forms, visit https://www.gov.uk/the-warm-home-discount-scheme/energy-suppliers
This scheme is run on a first come first served basis, and there is usually only a window of about 3 months from September to make a claim. For some suppliers, even if you have received the discount previously, you’ll need to apply again for future schemes.
For families on low incomes, criteria vary from supplier to supplier, so check with them to see if you qualify. Please note that some suppliers offer the discount to low income families with children under 5 who are in full time education, whilst others extend it to below 8 years, or in full time education, or on free school meals.
Customers who qualify for the Warm Home discount will also qualify for the safeguard tariff with their supplier. The safeguard tariff is meant to protect customers from paying too much for their energy, and is a price cap on electricity and gas prices for those who qualify. It is available for prepayment customers, and customers who qualify for the Warm Home Discount who are on poor value standard variable tariffs.
Reducing energy usage at home
For tips please visit: http://www.energysavingtrust.org.uk/domestic
Insulation and help with boiler repairs/replacement
For help with insulation and boiler repairs/replacement for those on low incomes, please visit; https://www.gov.uk/energy-company-obligation, or telephone the Energy Saving Advice Service on 0300 123 1234.
For helpful advice on energy efficiency and home insulation please visit: http://www.buildingmaterials.co.uk/resources/home-insulation-guide/
If you don’t qualify for financial help and want to find a contractor to fit insulation for you, try the National Insulation Association. Their website is: http://www.nia-uk.org/householder/
Do you use heating oil to heat your home? If so, you may be able to save money by buying through an oil club. There are many clubs in existence and the Citizens Advice website can help you find one. Click here to find an oil club on the Citizens Advice website.
CCB runs a berkshire-wide oil club. For more information about the club, visit the CCB Oil Club page: www.ccb-oil-club.org.uk.
Struggling to pay your energy bills?
If you are struggling to pay your energy bill the Citizens Advice website can help.
Visit https://citizensadvice.org.uk/about-us/how-we-provide-advice to find your local bureau. Your local Citizens Advice Bureau will also be able to help with debt advice.
Grants for energy efficiency
To find grants and ways to improve your energy efficiency visit: //www.gov.uk/energy-grants-calculator/
Further energy efficiency advice
For advice and information on saving energy at home, visit the Centre for Sustainable Energy’s website at: http://www.cse.org.uk/advice/advice-and-support
Energy advice factsheets published by the Centre for Sustainable Energy give information on many aspects of home energy use. These downloadable factsheets can be found at:
Home improvements can help you to save on energy costs. To find out more, do the Home Energy Check on the Energy Saving Trust website: http://hec.est.org.uk.