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Your Home Energy Checklist 

Follow these steps to help you manage your energy bills and keep your home warm and safe this winter. 

Contact your energy supplier to see if you are on the cheapest tariff or discuss energy debt.

If you are not sure which energy tariff you are on, contact your energy supplier to see if you are on their cheapest tariff.

If you are worried you are falling into energy debt, contact your energy supplier as soon as possible. If they know there is a problem, they are required to work with you to find a solution. For example, they can help you to set up an affordable repayment plan and take any payment in a format which is suitable to you. 

You can also get advice on energy debt from Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline on 0808 223 1133 (Textphone users call 18001 0808 223 1133) or your local Citizens Advice (call charges may apply). 

Maximise your income 

Make sure you are claiming the correct benefits. This could increase your income as well as make you eligible for other types of assistance. Take advice from your local Citizens Advice or call the Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline on 0808 223 1133 (Textphone users call 18001 0808 223 1133) (call charges may apply). 

Check if you can receive any energy discounts or payments.

Contact your energy supplier to see if you are entitled to a Warm Home Discount. This is best done around October each year (however some suppliers open their schemes earlier in the year). This is a discount of £140 on electricity bills for the winter period. 

Those who receive the Guarantee Credit element of Pension Credit should get the discount automatically. Energy suppliers may offer the discount to other low-income and vulnerable households who meet the qualifying criteria so it pays to check. 

If you were born on or before a specific date you could get between £100 and £300 to help you pay your heating bills. This is known as a Winter Fuel Payment. It is paid automatically between November and December if you have claimed before or are in receipt of some other benefits. Others will need to apply for it. Call the Winter Fuel Payment Centre on 0800 7310160. In addition, some households could be eligible for a Cold Weather Payment of £25 per qualifying week. This is paid automatically to those on certain benefits when the average temperature in their area is recorded as, or forecast to be, zero degrees celsius or below for seven consecutive days. You’ll get £25 for each seven-day period of very cold weather between 1 November and 31 March. 

Take a meter reading.

If you take regular meter readings and submit them to your energy supplier this will help you keep an eye on your energy use and keep your bills accurate.

If you receive a bill and it has an ‘E’ marked against the meter reading, then this means it is estimated by your supplier. You may not be paying the right amount for your energy. Having several estimated readings can sometimes lead to large, unexpected bills. Meters are read from left to right. Don’t include any numbers that are red or in a red box. You can also ask your supplier if you can have a smart meter installed. This means that your supplier can take automatic readings and can provide a more accurate bill.

If you are on prepayment, you may also find it more convenient to top up. If your meter is broken or faulty, contact your energy supplier or landlord, who is required to fix it without any charge. You could be charged if they find the meter is not faulty. 

Power cuts and the Priority Services Register (PSR).

If you have a power cut call the national power cut phone line on 105. If you sign up to a Priority Services Register, you can receive extra help from your energy supplier as well as from your distribution network operators (the companies that operate and maintain the gas and electricity pipes and wires) during a power cut or in general. You can receive the services available if you: 

  • Are of pensionable age 
  • Are disabled or chronically sick 
  • Have a long-term medical condition 
  • Have a hearing or visual impairment or additional communication needs 
  • Are in a vulnerable situation including certain mental health conditions, physical injury as well as temporary situations of vulnerability 
  • Have a child under five living with you. 

All energy suppliers and network operators maintain their own registers but with your consent they can share information with each other, so you don’t have to register separately for both. Contact your gas/electricity supplier and/or distribution network operator for more information and to register. Details of your distribution network operator can be found on your energy bill. 

Make your home energy efficient.

Preventing draughts can be a cheap way of making your home warmer. Draught-proofing products are available at DIY stores. Close curtains at dusk to keep the heat in and use thermal underlay beneath carpets.

Loft and cavity wall insulation can also make a big difference to bills and comfort, as can replacing an old inefficient boiler. You may be eligible for free or discounted insulation or heating measures. Contact your energy supplier and see if you qualify for the Energy Company Obligation (ECO) or your local council or Citizens Advice and ask about any local schemes operating in your area.

If you rent your home, then by law landlords must ensure it is safe and habitable. If you are worried your privately rented accommodation is not safe or habitable, contact your local authority’s environmental health team who can assess the property for health and safety hazards and require your landlord to make improvements out of their own funds. 

Need help

Calling advice lines and other services may incur call charges. 0800 and 0808 numbers are free from landlines and mobiles. Standard rates apply for 01, 02 and 03 numbers (typically 9p-13p per minute from landlines and 3p-55p from mobiles depending on your network), however they are usually included in free call packages.