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Reducing energy costs

Additional Support for Households due to April 2022 Energy Price Increases

  • £400 rebate in October to all households. Most households should receive an automatic £400 discount on your energy bill , regardless of what tariff you're on. For other central government support with cost of living pressures www.sunderland.gov.uk/get-support
  • From 1 April 2022 to 1 April 2023, DWP introduced a temporary change to Fuel Direct to protect claimants given unprecedented energy prices. During this period, energy suppliers can no longer request new deductions or increased payments from a claimant's benefit to pay for ongoing fuel consumption. For claimants who pay for their ongoing fuel usage directly from their benefits, the amount they pay was not automatically increased if their bill went up in April 2022 and will not automatically increase when the price cap changes in October 2022. If claimants use Fuel Direct and feel they are able to pay their increased bills, they should contact DWP to amend their existing arrangement. Universal Credit claimants can use their Universal Credit Journal to make this request or call 0800 328 5644. Income Support, Jobseeker's Allowance and Employment and Support Allowance claimants can call 0800 169 0310. For Pension Credit, claimants can call 080

There are a number of ways that people may be able to reduce their energy costs and better manage fuel bills. This includes free help and advice from a number of agencies as well as applying for support from a range of schemes or switching energy providers and you can keep up to date on the current energy situation and what you may be able to do to limit price rises by visiting https://www.moneysavingexpert.com/utilities/cheap-gas-and-electricity/ 

Citizens Advice Sunderland

Citizens Advice has general advice and guidance about your energy supply, including what to do if you have problems or issues with your energy bills, are struggling to pay your bills, or would like to make a complaint about your energy provider. Citizen's Advice are also a Warm Homes Fund delivery partner.

They also include a 20 item easy expert approved guide to save energy and money 20 ways to save.

Their Utilities Team can look at your energy usage and find ways to cut your energy costs as well as look for additional financial support. They can:

  • check if you are entitled to any missed benefits and look to maximise your income
  • help to reduce your energy costs by comparing energy providers, payment methods and tariffs
  • register you for the Priority Service Register, the Warm Home Discount Scheme, and other forms of help available
  • help improve your energy efficiency
  • provide you with options if you have personal debts
  • provide food parcels and fuel vouchers for those in need

Email energy@citizensadvicesunderland.co.uk for a free energy check and to see how much you could save.

For debt or energy enquiries call 0191 415 8998, Monday to Friday, 9am to 4pm. For general enquiries please call for free on 0808 278 7950.

Green Doctors

Green Doctors can help you take control of your fuel bills and provide practical solutions to reduce your energy costs. Green Doctors are also a Warm Homes Fund delivery partner. They provide:

  • advice on tariff comparison and switching to find the best energy deals
  • FREE energy saving devices

They can assist with:

  • issues with energy suppliers including billing, debt and meter connection
  • ensuring people eligible are on the Priority Services Register
  • energy efficiency advice to use heating controls effectively whilst home all day
  • signposting to local sources of help
  • water supply support - social tariffs, billing and debt issues
  • damp, condensation and mould advice

For more information visit The Green Doctor, call Julia Bentley on 07515 327 185, or email GreenDoctorsNE@groundwork.org.uk

Priority Services Register

The Priority Services Register is a free support service that makes sure extra help is available to people in vulnerable situations. Find out more about eligibility and what kind of support energy suppliers offer at Ofgem 

Warm Homes Fund  
Warm Homes Fund logo

From August 2022 to December 2023 up to 135 qualifying households could benefit from an Air Source Heat Pump. Air Source Heat Pumps provide high-efficiency central heating and hot water and could significantly cut electricity costs of households that are heated by old inefficient electric storage heaters and immersion hot water tank.  

To qualify you need to meet all of the following requirements:

  1. You are an owner occupier - or- tenant renting from a Private Landlord 
  2. Your property must have an EPC rating of E or F or G.  Some D rated properties may also qualify but this will be confirmed at the time of initial enquiry
  3. Your property is currently heated by Electric Storage Heaters - or - your property does not have any other type of Central Heating System 
  4. Total GROSS household income is £31,000 per year or less - or - with certain health conditions.  For full qualification criteria please see Energy Company Obligation (ECO) and ECO Flex

Warm Homes Fund also supports Citizens Advice Sunderland and Green Doctors energy saving / energy cost advice services. 

For more information please contact Citizens Advice Sunderland on 0191 731 6490.     

Check if a Heat Pump is Suitable for Your Home

The Government offer an online Heat Pump check service for your home.  Find out if a heat pump could be a suitable choice of central heating system for your home, before you install one.

You'll need to give as many details as you can about your home that could affect its energy efficiency. This includes:

  • when it was built
  • if it has any insulation in the outer walls or roof
  • whether it has single, double or triple glazed windows
  • how many bedrooms it has

If your property has an energy performance certificate, you can use your postcode to fill in some details automatically.

To complete the check service please visit check if a heat pump could be suitable for your home 
 

National Energy Action (NEA) - action for warm homes

If you or someone you know is struggling with their energy bills, NEA's Warm and Safe Homes (WASH) Advice Service can help. They are a free support service providing advice to householders in England and Wales on their energy bills and keeping warm and safe in their home. They can also help with benefits advice and income maximisation.

For more information call for free on 0800 304 7159, or visit National Energy Action - action for warm homes.

Simple Energy Advice

This provider gives government endorsed impartial and independent energy advice to help you:

  • reduce your energy bills
  • make your home warmer
  • plan home improvements
  • make your home greener

The Simple Energy Advice website contains a range of useful information and tools to help you, based on where you live. You can also contact them by calling 0800 444 202.

Energy Saving Trust

The Energy Saving Trust provides advice on home insulation and energy efficiency, including financial support that is available.

GOV.UK website

This site provides information about how to make your home more energy efficient and reduce your bills, including an energy grants calculator to help work out whether you're eligible for the Warm Home Discount scheme or Winter Fuel Payment. The calculator can also help you identify whether you qualify for any funding to make your home more energy efficient.

Warm Homes Discount Scheme (WHD)

If you have a low income, you may be able to get money off your electricity bill for winter 2022 to 2023 via Warm Home Discount Scheme.

The details for this coming winter are not available yet and the 2021 to 2022 WHD scheme has now closed

You can also get help and advice on reducing your energy use and bills from the following organisations:

Power Cuts

You can check Northern Power Grid - power cuts for details of planned and unplanned powers cuts and help for these situations - including reporting and  locating your power cut, finding out what's happening and seeing  when your power is due back on. The pages also include details of how to register for their priority services register.

Water Bills

Northumbrian Water offers a range of schemes to help and support you financially. This ranges from fixing a leaking toilet for free no matter what your income, to discount of up to 50% on your water bill if your household income is less than £16,385. For full details of all available schemes please visit Northumbrian Water - financial support.

Disclaimer 

The purpose of the above information is to provide householders with general guidance and useful tips only and not designed to provide professional or financial advice and should not be relied on as such. While the council uses reasonable endeavours to include and update information neither the council nor its employees will be liable for any loss, damage or inconvenience arising from the use of this information. You should check any information before acting or relying upon it.

The council does not endorse any 3rd party advice or installer and hence if claims are made from organisations to be acting on behalf of the council, you should check the validity of those claims.

This information was correct at the time of printing, for any changes to services, offer or opening times please contact provider directly or visit website listed.

Other sources of help

The council also commissions benefits debt, employment, and housing advice for residents from a number of local advice providers. These providers can also help you with energy and utilities advice.

Our Get help and advice page has these provider details, and details of other specialist advice provision and sources of help in your local area.

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