We know winter can be expensive, and that it can be particularly stressful to manage your money at this time. In this section you’ll find lots of great advice on saving money during the winter and colder months.
Using energy efficiently is important for a number of reasons – to save money, to keep you warm, to reduce your carbon footprint and to help you to stay healthy.
Energy and money saving tips:
- Lag all cold water pipes in the loft but do not lag under the cold water tank
- Close curtains and blinds at dusk and tuck curtains behind radiators
- Do not waste water and gas/ electric costs by overfilling a bath
- Take a shower it uses 40% less hot water than a bath
- Check the immersion heater, 60°C/140°F is ideal
- Turn off lights when you leave a room
- Do not leave appliances on standby
- Use the washing machine on economy setting and wait until you have a full load
- Use the kettle to boil water for your saucepans and always use a saucepan lid
- Only boil enough water for what you need
- Descale your kettle regularly
- Add heating controls to your central heating system, this will put you in control
- Fit radiator panels behind your radiators to reflect the heat back into the room
- Do not block radiators with large pieces of furniture as air needs to circulate freely for the radiator to work efficiently
- Always put the plug in the sink or use a washing up bowl. Never wash up under a running tap
- Replace standard light bulbs with energy efficient ones
- Do not leave appliances on charge unnecessarily
- Only use a tumble drier when you cannot dry laundry outside
- Fix dripping taps. Over one week a dripping tap will waste enough water to half fill a bath
- Do not leave the door open on fridges and freezers
- Defrost your freezer regularly.
You could get £140 off your electricity bill for winter 2021 to 2022 under the Warm Home Discount Scheme.
The money is not paid to you – it is a one-off discount on your electricity bill, usually between September and March. There are 2 ways to qualify for the Warm Home Discount Scheme:
• You get the Guarantee Credit element of Pension Credit -known as the ‘core group’
• You’re on a low income and meet your energy supplier’s criteria for the scheme – known as the ‘broader group’
Park home residents
If you live in a park home you need to apply for the discount through an organisation called Charis who administer the scheme for park home residents.
You can fill the Warm Home Discount application form in online or you can call Charis Grants on 0330 555 9424 and complete the application over the phone.
Pre-pay or pay-as-you-go meters
You can still qualify for the discount if you use a pre-pay or pay-as-you-go electricity meter. Your electricity supplier can tell you how you’ll get the discount if you’re eligible, for example a voucher you can use to top up your meter.
How to claim
If you are in the ‘core group’ and automatically qualify for the discount, you will get a letter this autumn or winter telling you how to get the discount if you qualify.
If you do not get a letter try the following:
Warm Home Discount helpline: 0800 731 0214
Monday to Friday, 8:30am to 4:30pm.
Contact the Warm Home Discount Team in writing at the address below, or contact your electricity supplier directly if you do not get a letter but believe you qualify.
Warm Home Discount Scheme Peel Park
If you do not qualify for the discount you may be able to apply directly to your electricity supplier for help if you do not get the Guarantee Credit element of Pension Credit but:
- You are on a low income
- You get certain means-tested benefits including certain disability related payments
- Your energy supplier is part of the scheme.
How to apply
Check with your supplier to see if you are eligible and how to apply. Check with your supplier as early as possible. The number of discounts suppliers can give are limited.
The following suppliers are part of the scheme:
- Affect Energy
- Angelic Energy
- Avro Energy
- Beam Energy
- Bristol Energy
- British Gas
- Bulb Energy
- Citizen Energy
- Co-operative energy
- EDF Energy
- Fosse Energy
- Great North Energy
- Green Energy
- Green Network Energy
- Green Star Energy
- iSupply Energy
- London Power
- M&S Energy
- Octopus Energy
- Pure Planet
- Qwest Energy
- Ram Energy
- Roar Power
- Sainsbury’s Energy
- Scottish Hydro
- Shell Energy
- So Energy
- Southern Energy
- Southern Electric
- Spark Energy
- Symbio Energy
- The LECCY
- Tonik Energy
- Utility Point
- Utility Warehouse
- White Rose Energy
- Your Energy Sussex.
If your supplier is not on the above list it may still be worth contacting them directly to see if they are taking part in the Warm Home Discount Scheme.
Who runs it?
The scheme is run by charity Rural Action Derbyshire with the aim of helping people in homes, community buildings and businesses in rural Derbyshire save money on their oil, particularly those in fuel poverty.
There are thousands of properties throughout Derbyshire off the National Gas Grid. A large number of these rely on heating oil (kerosene 28) and are at the mercy of a very volatile market price.
Households on oil have no choice but to buy their oil in minimum order quantities of 500 litres, sometimes making it hard to find a large sum of money in one go. Some oil companies offer payment schemes, but you are then at their mercy – paying whatever price they decide to charge for the oil.
The Oil Buying Scheme wants to help make oil more affordable. Buying oil through the scheme means the oil price will always be low with peace of mind that prices will not be inflated for profit.
The more people that use the scheme and the more oil that is ordered, the better the price that can be achieved from the suppliers. So using the scheme is not only saving money, but it is also helping others.
Will I save money?
The Derbyshire Community Oil Buying Scheme has ordered 684,206 litres of oil in and saved members collectively around £45,000 in the 12 months from April 2017 to March 2018. There were 393 members if the oil buying scheme in that period.
How does it work?
Members, once registered on the website, can log in and order oil at any time. Rural Action Derbyshire place an order every fortnight made up of members’ orders in that period.
Members also pay for their oil via the website. Payment is collected 24 hours after the oil price has been agreed and members have been informed of the price and total cost of their oil order. This way, the Oil Buying Scheme gives one payment direct to the supplier in advance for all the oil. This means they do not have to collect payments from everyone and they can start getting the oil delivered straightaway.
The system is internet based, in keeping with so many daily household and business functions these days. However not everyone has access to the internet so members can still place orders over the phone if they need to.
Tel: 01629 592970 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Many people in rural Derbyshire have homes in remote or isolated areas that are not connected to the mains gas network. Many of these rely on heating oil (kerosene) for their heating, hot water and/or cooking.
The heating oil price is very volatile and can vary widely from month to month. The minimum order quantity of 500 litres could cost £150 one month and £300 the next. Electricity can also cost more as households ‘off gas’ can’t take advantage of the ‘Dual Fuel’ discount.
Sometimes it may mean making the difficult decision between putting food on the table or putting the heating on. This is of particular concern for the most vulnerable including the very young, the very old and those in poor health.
Applications to the Fuel Bank will be by referral from the following:
- Derbyshire Rural Chaplaincy team
- Food Banks
- Citizens Advice
- Age UK Derby & Derbyshire
- Derbyshire Discretionary Fund.
Criteria for Support
Individuals need to show they are:
- In severe financial hardship (unable to pay for energy bills) and
- Unable to access other support such as local government schemes or are waiting for payment from such schemes and live in Derbyshire.
- The Fuel Bank can pay for a delivery of 500 litres of oil and/or other fuel cost.
Each application will be assessed on a case by case basis. People will also be able to access information on other support available to them relative to their specific needs.
For more information:
email@example.com 01629 592970 or 07540 736118 www.ruralactionderbyshire.org.uk
Changing energy suppliers, or ‘fuel switching’ can be one of the easiest ways to save money on your gas and electricity bills.
With so many different deals out there it can be difficult to know which is the best for you. You may be able to get a better energy tariff from your current supplier so it’s worth contacting them to discuss if you are on the best tariff they offer.
However, you may save more money by switching to a completely new supplier. You can find out about other energy deals by using an internet comparison site such as ‘energylinx’, ‘the energy helpline’ or ‘Uswitch’. They are able to carry out the switch if that is what you decide to do.
www.energylinx.co.uk Tel: 0800 410 1143
www.energyhelpline.com Tel: 0800 074 0745
www.uswitch.com Tel: 0800 6888 557
Citizens Advice consumer service can also help with advice on tariff switching, contact: 08454 223 113 (Mon–Fri 9am–5pm).
In order to switch, you will need to know:
- The name of your current tariff
- How much you are paying each month/year for your gas and electricity or your annual energy
- Consumption in Kwh (which can be found on your bill)
- Who your current supplier is before you contact a comparison helpline.
This information is required so that accurate advice can be given. Please note: if you are in receipt of the Warm Home Discount you may need to reapply for this offer if you switch to a new supplier. If you do not inform your new supplier you are in receipt of the Warm Home Discount you may lose the payment.
There may be occasions when you are approached by energy supplier’s sales person on your doorstep or a public place such as your local shopping centre. Make sure there is a ‘cooling off’ period where you are able to cancel any deal you may have signed up to.
The programme will provide free support for specific householders across Derbyshire that suffer from a health condition made worse by living in a cold or damp home.
Vulnerable householders are likely to be older people, young children and those with an existing respiratory or circulatory health problem.
People with existing conditions are likely to need further medical attention if they are unable to keep their homes warm during the winter.
Cold homes have also been linked to an increased risk of developing a wide range of health conditions including, asthma, arthritis, pneumonia, accidental injury and depression.
Derbyshire Public Health recognises the need to direct limited resources to vulnerable households that really need support.
The Healthy Home project has developed a working relationship with a range of NHS and public sector partners within Derbyshire to carefully identify which households would benefit from taking part in the project.
If you would like to be referred to the programme by a partner, you will receive a home visit and be given an opportunity to talk about:
- Problems with your heating system
- Loft or cavity wall insulation
- Improving home energy efficiency
- Managing finances
- Benefit entitlement
- Loans and grants
- Help with managing health issues.
The Healthy Home programme is delivered by a dedicated team working on behalf of Derbyshire County Council and District Councils.
For more information phone: 01629 536919 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
The PeoplesPower is a Derbyshire based not-for-profit organisation set up to help people get together to save money on their electricity (ordinary or green) and gas bills. How does the PeoplesPower work?
The concept is simple. Energy bills are really expensive for everyone, but as individual households we have no power to negotiate. The PeoplesPower believes that by negotiating together, we have the power to get a cheaper, fairer deal.
There are four simple steps:
- It’s free to sign up
- Share with friends and family
- The PeoplesPower negotiates with large and small energy companies for their best deal
- Switch and Save: they’ll send you the best offer with information on how it compares to your current deal – you will be under no obligation to accept the offer.
You can also sign up to negotiate for green energy – you don’t need to choose between cheap energy and green energy. For the latest news from the energy- saving, renewable and community energy worlds keep an eye on PeoplesPower’s blog. or their Twitter feed
PeoplesPower runs as a social enterprise and is registered as a Community Interest Company (CIC):
- It is reliant on ‘people power’
- Spreading the word and does not advertise to minimise the costs passed on to the customer.
- It is committed to working for community benefits. It spends any surpluses it might generate on not- for-profit energy saving or renewable energy schemes.
- As a social enterprise it involves anyone who takes one of its offers in helping to decide how the surplus should be spent.
- It is completely transparent and impartial.