Home Energy Advice and Other Household Bills
Useful links for help with the rising cost of household bills and energy advice for Council and housing associations tenants, private renting and owner occupiers.
Pre Payment Meter - Government Energy Support Voucher (Important Information)
If you pay for your energy by topping up a traditional pre-payment meter, you should have already received your first Government Energy Bills Support Voucher of £66 either by post, text or email. These vouchers are paid in instalments every month between October and March 2023. They are only valid for 90 days and cannot be used once expired so make sure you don’t lose out! Vouchers can be redeemed at PayPoint stores and the Post Office.
If you’ve lost or not received your voucher, get in touch with your energy supplier as soon as possible to let them know.
For further information about the Energy Bills Support Scheme and how you will receive the support visit Getting the energy bills support scheme discount webiste.
High Energy Bills
If you are struggling to pay for energy or think you may get into difficulty, contact your supplier. Finding your energy supplier or network operator | Ofgem.
The 1 April Energy Price Cap rise caused by global energy factors will be extremely worrying for many people. Check if the energy price cap effects you. Further guidance can be found here.
Warm Home Discounts Scheme . You could get £140 off your electricity bill for winter 2021 to 2022 under the Warm Home Discount Scheme.
Household Support energy grant scheme – obtainable via the Citizen Advice Centre
LEAP, Local Energy Advice Partnership, is a free service that is helping people keep warm and reduce their energy bills without costing them any money For further information contact LEAP.
Hampshire County Council Hitting the cold spots. Help for people struggling to keep their homes warm.
Hitting the Cold Spots dedicated Advice Line gives advice and support about how you can reduce your energy bills and stay warm. Your call will be answered by a member of our Hampshire-based, friendly and knowledgeable team from the Environment Centre.
How can we help?
The Hitting the Cold Spots Team could help you with:
- Visits from Hitting the Cold Spots Advisors offering advice and practical support
- Support with alternative heating measures (electric oil filled radiators) if you are without heating
- Help to access funding where available for boiler repairs and replacements
- Access to small grant support to help cope with winter fuel emergencies
- Practical support and advice with debt, money and benefits
- Free Home Safety visits which can include a carbon monoxide monitor, smoke detector and a fire safety plan
- Assistance to switch your energy provider or tariff to help give you savings on your fuel bills
Call 0800 804 8601*
*9am-5pm, Mon – Fri. May not be free from mobiles. Call 02380 336 172 for landline rates.
The Money Saving Expert has advice if you are struggling to your pay energy bill.
Other Household Bills
Water Sure – Water Sure can help you if you have a low income and your water is supplied by a meter. We can help by putting a limit on your charges for water and sewerage services, as long as you meet the following conditions:
- Your supply is metered
- The person who pays the water bill or someone else in your household receives means tested benefit or tax credit; and
- There are either: a) three or more children under the age of 19 living in the household for whom the person receiving the above benefit also claims Child Benefit; or b) you or someone living in your household has a medical condition that can be supported by a doctors certificate that means they use a lot of extra water.
Further support can be found here
Household Support energy grant scheme – obtainable via the Citizan Advice
Broadband and phone line
BT offer an essentials package for broadband and phone line for £15 PCM, if a person is in receipt of the following benefits:
- Universal Credit (all claimants)
- Pension Credit (Guarantee Credit)
- Employment and Support Allowance (Eligibility rules apply
- Jobseeker’s Allowance (Eligibility rules apply) Income Support
This is for new and existing customers and will need the customers National Insurance number when applying. Please visit BT for more information.
Simple, low-cost ideas to help you start saving energy today.
Homemade double glazing - No double glazing? No problem. Try some secondary glazing film to reduce heat loss and condensation. You could even use cling film!
Kitchen foil isn’t just for the kitchen - Putting kitchen foil behind radiators reflects more heat back into a room. Just mount some foil on cardboard (with the shiny side facing outwards) and you’re all set.
Close the gaps with a draught excluder - Stop cold air coming in through gaps around doors with an easy-to-make draught excluder. Closing your curtains will also help keep the heat in.
Switch it off - Appliances on standby still consume electricity, so switch them off completely when not in use. You should also avoid charging laptops and mobile phones unnecessarily.
Turn heating down a degree - We all agree that the most important thing is to keep warm in winter, but turning your heating thermostat down by just 1°C could reduce your heating bills by up to ten percent – around £80 - £85 a year.
If you go away for a few days during the winter months, leave the thermostat on a low setting to avoid damage from freezing such as burst pipes.
Wash at 30 - Wash your clothes at 30 degrees, modern detergents now work just as well at cooler temperatures. Try to always wash a full load too; one full load uses less energy than two half loads.
Boil what you need - When boiling the kettle, only boil the amount of water you plan to use.
Watch your water use - Consider washing dishes by hand and replace or repair leaking taps to avoid wasting hot water.
Low energy lighting - Energy saving lighting such as LEDs use less energy and last longer, saving on both running and replacement costs.
Visit the Centre for Sustainable Energy for even more energy saving tips.
Winchester City Council has pledged to be carbon neutral by 2030. For more information click here.
Tips for being more sustainable at home.
Tips for being more sustainable at home.
Longer term investments
Fit double glazing - Fitting double glazing cuts heat loss through windows by almost 50% and will also help to reduce your heating bill. Closing your curtains when it gets dark will also reduce heat loss.
Faulty boiler? - An inefficient boiler can cost you up to £300, so make sure you get yours serviced regularly by a Gas Safe engineer at least every two years. If your boiler is over ten years old, replacing it with a new high-efficiency boiler is likely to lower the amount that you spend on heating.
Install heating controls -Heating controls help you heat your home and hot water to the desired level, so that you don’t waste energy creating more heat than needed. Heating controls include thermostats, programmes to set when your heating and hot water come on and off and cylinder thermostats on your hot water tank.
Check your appliances
You can save on energy bills by choosing more energy efficient appliances for your home when you come to replace them.
All new electrical appliances and gas boilers are rated according to how much energy they use based on size categories. An A+++-rated appliance is the most efficient, while a G-rated appliance is the least efficient, and therefore the most expensive to run.
Making sure that your home has a good level of insulation will reduce your energy bills as less hot air will escape through your walls and roof.
If you are looking for a trade to carry out improvements to your home . visit TrustMark - Government Endorsed Scheme For Work Done Around Your Home here you can access quality assured tradesmen who have been certified.
How to save energy and money when renting
Saving energy might feel a little out of your hands if you’re renting your home.
But there's still plenty of easy, free or low-cost ways to improve the energy efficiency of your rented home, lowering your energy bills and reducing your impact on the environment.
Remember though, always seek permission from your landlord or housing provider before making any alterations to better insulate your home and make it more energy efficient.
1. Change the lightbulbs to LEDs
LEDs are about 10 times more efficient than a traditional light bulb and have and a tenth of the running costs, meaning the simple switch could save you around £240 a year. For all things bulb, go to the Energy Saving Trust’s page on energy saving light bulbs.
2. Get to know your heating controls and boiler system
As a renter, it’s likely that you may have had to deal with a number of unfamiliar heating controls in your time and may not quite know how they work.
But knowing how your heating works is one of the most efficient ways of saving you money. The Centre for Sustainable Energy have a brilliant guide on getting to grips with heating controls.
If you have a hot water tank, check that it’s programmed to heat up your water at intervals perhaps an hour in the morning and again in the evening. Only turning your hot water on at the times you need, rather than keeping it heated all day long can help lower your costs too.
4. Draught-proof your home
Draughts can appear in all sorts of places. Windows, doors, keyholes, letter boxes, loft hatches and pipework that leads outside.
A great way of preventing these draughts is to buy self-adhesive foam strips. Here’s how to apply them:
- Find where the draught is coming from.
- Wash and dry the window or door that needs draught-proofing.
- Buy the right thickness of self-adhesive foam for the gap (it comes in various sizes).
- Cut the length you need.
- Apply the sticky side of the strip onto the side of the door that the window or door close on to (not the window or door itself).
For the bottom of your doors, you can even make your own draught excluder very cheaply. Click here to learn how to make a draught excluder.
5. Bleed your radiators
If your property is fitted with gas central heating the radiators may not be working to their full capacity because of air bubbles trapped inside them. These air bubbles can be released by what’s known as ‘bleeding’ your radiator.
To check if your radiator needs bleeding, follow these steps:
- Run hands over radiator when it’s on. If it’s cool at the top and hot at the bottom this probably means it needs bleeding.
- Switch your central heating off at the boiler and wait for the radiators to cool down before you bleed.
- Find your release valve at the top of the radiator (with a small square pin) and use the radiator key to release the trapped air.
- Before you start, put towels between the radiator and the wall and under the radiator and bowl underneath to catch any water.
- Don’t remove the valve completely, just loosen slightly to release the air.
- When you’ve released all of the air, water will start to pour out of the valve. Shut the valve with the key and your radiator should be back to full working order.
Here's a great step by step guide to bleeding your radiator.
6. Wrap up your pipes and hot water tank
Insulating your hot water cylinder with a jacket (at least 80mm thick and costing around £15) will keep your hot water warmer for longer, meaning less energy is used heating your home, saving you money.
Covering your hot water pipes with foam insulation will also keep costs down by keeping your water warmer for longer.
7. Change your shower head
If you’ve got a shower that takes hot water straight from your boiler or hot water tank (rather than an electric shower) then you may be able to fit a water-efficient shower head and that could reduce your hot water usage whilst still maintaining the sensation of a powerful shower.
Some water companies are giving shower heads away for free, so maybe contact your water company to see if you could receive one. Through installing a water-efficient shower head, a family of four could save around £65 a year on gas for water heating, as well as a further £95 on water bills if they have a water meter.
One of the easiest ways to save yourself money is to change your gas and electricity supplier. There’s a myth that if you’re renting, you’re unable to change your supplier. Click here for more information. The energy market is in a crisis, there's curently nothing meaningfully cheaper tha the price cap, so for most is wont ne wort switching right now. You can do a Cheap Energy Club comparison to check if you like, but you almost certainly won't find anything cheaper.
For more advice about your rights as a tenant:
Contact Citizen’s Advice or go to the UK Government site on private renting rights.
If you're responsible for paying the gas and electricity bill directly to the supplier, it's within your rights to change your supplier. This includes properties with a prepayment meter. (Do make sure to check for any special clauses in your tenancy agreement around this, or if your landlord has nominated a 'preferred supplier')
All it takes is a quick phone call or online switch, and you could be saving money in minutes.
Advice and support can also be found at: