Energy Know How
At Citizens Advice Edenbridge & Westerham, we are seeing an increasing number of clients who are worried about their energy bills. Citizens Advice and the Energy Savings Trust have worked together to answer some questions you might have.What to do if your energy supplier has gone bust
You will still have gas and electricity even if your supplier goes out of business. Don’t switch tariff or supplier until your account is moved to the new supplier. Make sure you take meter readings, keep any old bills and make a note of your credit balance.
Discounts and benefits to help you pay your energy bills
If you’re struggling to afford your energy bills, call your supplier to ask if they can help.
You might be able to apply for the Warm Home Discount – check whether your supplier is part of the scheme. The Winter Fuel Payment is an annual one-off payment to help those born on or before 26 September 1955 to pay for heating. Fuel vouchers can help people who are struggling to pay for their gas and/or electricity – contact Kent County Council Home Essentials in a crisis – KSAS: kentcc-self.achieveservice.com/service/Apply_for_home_essentials_in_a_crisis
What to do if you owe your supplier money
Some energy companies offer grants for their customers – if you are in debt, ask your supplier if they can help you. You might also be able to get a grant from a charitable trust to help pay it off. The British Gas Energy Trust has grants to help you clear your energy debts and you don’t have to be a customer. If you are facing fuel poverty, apply online or call them on 0121 348 7797. You may also be eligible for a local energy grant – check the Simple Energy Advice website or phone them on 0800 444202.
Citizens Advice can also help you to agree a repayment plan with your supplier. Or you could arrange to repay your debt directly from your benefits through the Fuel Direct Scheme – ask at your local JobCentre.
Saving money through energy efficiency
More than half the money spent on fuel bills goes towards heating and hot water – install a room thermostat, a programmer and radiator valves – try turning down your room thermostat by just one degree or spend a couple of minutes less in the shower. Make sure you remember to turn your appliances off standby mode, invest in simple draught-proofing measures and turn off your lights when you’re not using them.
If anyone in your household is receiving benefits, ask your energy supplier if they can help with financial support for energy efficiency through the Energy Company Obligation.
If you need more help or support, contact Edenbridge & Westerham Citizens Advice.
If you need advice you can contact Citizens Advice Edenbridge & Westerham via:
• FREE Adviceline telephone: 0808 278 7962
• Website: www.citizensadvice.org.uk