Make sure you get the best possible price for the fuel that you use. The following information will hopefully help you to get the best possible deal accordingly to your own circumstances. There are some useful tips and helpful websites where you can get further information.
Not sure who your supplier is?
Electricity – If you do not know who supplies your electricity you should contact Western Power who keeps a record of suppliers in the midlands area. You can search for your address on their website here.
Gas – Your supplier’s details will be on the bill. If you don’t have a bill or statement you can find out the name of your gas supplier by calling 0870 608 1524
Heating and insulation has been a fundamental issue with many 1960s’ high-rises, including ours. Apartments were cold and prone to mould and drafts. These issues have now been eradicated through the combination of external wall insulation, new windows and new controllable central heating fuelled by Biomass (wood pellets).
The impact of the external wall insulation alone can be judged by the fact that the ambient temperature around unheated areas such as stairwells is now 16 degrees in mid-winter.
Previously tenants in these properties relied on outdated electric storage heaters. These were expensive to run with controls that were not easy to operate. The eco-friendly biomass system puts residents in charge with more manageable controls as they now have new radiators, temperature and timer controls.
Residents can have heating and hot water when they need it without the need for immersion heaters.
At present, Biomass central heating would not form part of any Collective Fuel switching project, but households could certainly switch suppliers for their electricity.”
Please note, if you have had this new heating system you should ask your electricity supplier to change your energy tariff from Economy 7 as cheaper tariffs may be available.
We all want a comfy warm home that doesn’t cost the earth and there are things we can all do to achieve this. See how you can save energy at home and read through some top tips produced by the Energy Saving Trust to help you reduce your fuel bills.
It is now a much easier process to compare and change energy suppliers. A good starting point would be to visit the OFGEM website to see if you would benefit from a better deal at http://www.goenergyshopping.co.uk/en-gb
The second round of the Council’s collective energy switching scheme, Solihull Switch ‘n’ Save, has been successful. Average savings on energy bills of £347 will be offered to nearly 1,000 households in the borough. 99% of the households that registered are able to save money.
The highest average saving was for those who have a monthly direct debit dual-fuel with paper billing. These customers stand to save £404.69 on average. This is the cheapest dual fuel deal (online or offline) since 2011.
The exclusive fixed-rate tariffs are delivered by:
– npower for residents who have a Dual Fuel online billing contract
– E.ON for residents who have a Dual Fuel paper billing contract
– E.ON also won the Electricity Only online billing and paper billing contracts
– Robin Hood Energy who has won all the prepayment contracts.
In order to cover costs the Council received a grant of £2,000 and will receive a fee of £5.50 per fuel for each household that takes advantage of the new energy offer.
Therefore, after deducting costs for the two completed switching schemes it is envisaged a net profit of around £4,950 will be made. This money can be used to support the next switching scheme or other energy efficiency initiatives.
For more information about the scheme, contact Robin Dunlevy, Home Energy Conservation Officer, on 0121 704 6450 or email@example.com
Extra help with energy if you’re vulnerable or on a low income
You may be classed as vulnerable if you are:
- a pensioner
- chronically ill
- unable to look after your own welfare or living with someone who is unable to look after their own welfare
If you fall into one of these categories, or are on a low income, you may be able to get extra help with managing your gas and electricity services or paying the bills.
A number of different schemes are available to vulnerable and low-income customers each with their own criteria
Priority Services Register
The Priority Services Register is run by energy suppliers and offers free services for older people and those who are registered disabled, have a hearing or vision impairment or have a long term health illness. These services may include the following:
- priority reconnection following a power cut,
- a service to take regular meter readings if you’re unable to do it yourself
- bills tailored to your needs, including large print and Braille.
- moving your meter free of charge to make it easier for you to access
- having controls or adaptors provided to make your meter or appliances easier to use
- priority reconnection if your supply is interrupted and advance notice if they have to stop your supply
- alternative facilities for cooking and heating if your energy supply is interrupted
- additional protection from bogus callers with a password protection scheme
- arranging for your bills to be sent or copied to someone else, such as a carer, who can help you read and check them
- free advice and information about the services available because of your age, disability or chronic illness.
You need to register with your supplier to take advantage of the services offered.
Winter fuel payments
The Warm Home Discount Scheme
Many pensioners and people on certain benefits can get an automatic rebate on their electricity bills. Find out about the Warm Home Discount Scheme.
Cold Weather Payments
Cold Weather Payments can help people who get certain benefits with their additional heating costs if it is very cold during the winter. Most payments are made automatically between November and December. You should get your money by Christmas. If you do not receive your payment you may need to make a claim. More information can be found here.
Doorstep meter credit is a scam
If you pay for your electricity using a pre-payment meter, you can avoid a scam we have heard about by only buying credit from official outlets like the Post Office, PayPoint or PayZone.
Criminals are posing as doorstep salesman selling half-price credit (for example selling £50 worth of credit for £25). They are using copies of pre-payment meter keys in order to add the credit to people’s meters.
But the energy companies can identify who is using electricity that they have bought illegally, and if you buy the half-price black market credit, you could end up having to pay again for the energy you have used. Find out more about the scam and visit the Top-up Safe website for more information.
Ofgem Consumer Affairs Team
Ofgem is an independent regulatory body set up by the government to promote competition and to monitor and regulate the activities of companies in the gas and electricity industries.
Consumer Futures is a department within Citizens Advice which provides consumer advocacy on energy issues in England and Wales
Citizens Advice consumer service
The Citizens Advice consumer service is the government funded telephone and online service for information and consumer advice and has been extended to include the energy sector. It provides advice and additional help to progress a consumer’s complaint against an energy supplier.
Home Heat Helpline
Unfortunately the Home Heat helpline closed on 30 June 2016. However, please click on the link to see what offers your current supplier can offer you in addition to the current tariff you are on.
National Grid Gas plc
National Grid Gas plc is the main public gas transporter, responsible for gas pipes, gas storage and emergency services.
Ombudsman Services: Energy
Is able to deal with complaints against gas and electricity suppliers and the energy network companies