As everyone is aware we are currently in the middle of a cost-of-living crisis which is being driven by the cost of energy and inflation. There has been a steep rise in the wholesale price of gas due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, subsequently limiting gas supplies into Europe. This has driven up the amount that energy providers pay for gas and electricity resulting in that cost being passed on to the consumer. Around 40% of electricity is generated in gas-fired power stations and 85% of UK households use gas boilers to heat their homes.
The Energy Price Guarantee came into effect on 1st October 2022, it was designed to limit the annual bill for a household with typical consumption levels to £2,500 a year for the next two years however it is now in place until April 2023 only. It was not a cap on bill size – those who use more energy would pay more, and those who use less would pay less. You can find more information here.
Although we are unable to directly help the cost of the energy crisis, we can put preventable measures in place to soften the impact it will have on us. Here at Soul Estates, we have thought about how we can help our tenants and landlords so we have put together a few energy-saving tips that could help this winter as well as some energy support schemes available:
- Switch off lights and appliances
We use a lot of electricity to illuminate our homes at night. But energy-saving lightbulbs like
LEDs are far more efficient than conventional ones. They are readily available, low cost and will save you money too.
Turning all your electrical appliances off rather than leaving them on standby can also save you money according to the Energy Saving Trust.
- Reduce energy consumption
If you usually put your clothes through a super-hot wash, dial down the temperature on your washing machine to 30°C to save on your electricity bills.
Tumble dryers guzzle energy, so be more mindful when it comes to drying your clothes by hanging up your washing instead.
- Turn the heating down
Heating your home is expensive. Turning your thermostat down by just 1°C can save you as on your heating bills according to Energy Saving Trust. If you can put up with a slightly cooler home and layer up instead, this could make a significant difference to your energy costs.
- Insulate your home
You can also lose heat from your roof. So padding out your loft can stop warmth from escaping, meaning you don’t have to turn the heating on as often.
Thing to think about:
- Draft-proofing doors and windows
- Maybe think about installing a chimney draught excluder
- Look into cavity walls insulation
For for information visit the Energy Saving Trust to find out more.
- Get a smart thermostat
A smart meter, if you don’t already have one, might also help you see exactly how much energy you’re using and when it’s costing you and where you can cut back. You can save money and save electricity too.
- Choose an energy-efficient boiler
This isn’t going to save you money in the short term, but installing a newer boiler could save you hundreds in the long run. Maybe thinking about investing in a more energy-efficient boiler to save you money.
Visit Which.co.uk to find our which boilers are most energy effient.
What energy support schemes are available?
- Government £400 energy discount scheme
To help with the rising cost of living, the government announced a new scheme to help everyone with their energy bills.
- How much can you get? A £400 energy grant, in the form of money off six energy bills. This does not have to be repaid
- Suppliers will automatically apply discounts of around £66 to your energy bills from October 2022 to March 2023. The government will foot the bill.
Visit Energy Saving Trust to find out more about the grant to see if you are eligible.
- Warm Home Discount
This is a one-off discount automatically applied to your electricity bill between October and March. Those who get the Guarantee Credit element of pension credit (core group) or are on a low income (broader group) and meet your energy supplier’s criteria for the scheme
- How much can you get? £150
- Core group: Your supplier will identify you and send you a letter between October and December telling you how to get the discount. Discount will be applied by 31 March
- Broader group: These include people on means-tested benefits. You need to apply to your electricity supplier. The number of discounts available might be limited so apply early. If successful, the discount will be applied to your bill by 31 March 2022.
- If you claim housing benefits, you will now qualify for the discount
- If you only claim disability living allowance or the personal independence payment you will no longer be eligible
- You will receive the rebate automatically if you’re eligible
- Winter fuel payment
This is a one-off, tax-free, cost-of-living payment to help pensioners with their heating bills. The winter fuel payment for pensioners does not count as income when working out your entitlement to other benefits.
- Those born on or before 26 September 1955 qualify for winter fuel payment
- How much can you get? A one-off tax-free fuel payment of £100 to £300
Visit Gov.uk to find out more about the winder fuel payment.
- Cold Weather Payment
If the weather dips below zero for a week or more, it will trigger this automatic payment to those on low incomes.
- Who’s eligible? You need to be receiving pension credit or universal credit, income support, jobseeker’s allowance, or help with mortgage interest payments
- How much can you get? £25 payment for every 7 consecutive days of very cold weather (0 degrees or below) between 1 November and 31 March
Visit Gov.uk to find out more about the winder fuel payment.
Many energy suppliers offer grants or schemes to help with home heating and energy costs.
You can find out more about these grants here.
Some charities also offer grants; find out more information.
- Priority Services Register
You can ask to be put on the Priority Services Register. It is a free energy support service for vulnerable people provided by your energy supplier.
Support varies depending on your needs and your energy supplier, but it can include priority service during a power cut, braille bills, quarterly meter readings and advanced notice of service interruption. The energy regulator Ofgem explains more here.
Best wishes from Soul Estates
We wish everyone well during these times of uncertainty and we hope this blog has been useful to you. If you do find yourself in some difficulty or your circumstances change, please do not hesitate to give the Soul Estates office a call at 0121 647 6779 so we can support you in the best way possible through this winter and into the New Year.
Mandeep & Sahib
0121 647 6779