WINTER 2013/14
Worried about how to pay for your energy
use? Concerned about rising energy bills?
If so, then this guide can help. There is
lots of help already out there but it can
sometimes be hard to find and difficult to
know who to turn to.
This guide is designed to help you to
make your home more energy efficient
and make you aware of what support is
now available.
There is advice on how to get the best
deal from your energy supplier and details
about schemes such as the Government’s
Green Deal which can enable you to
install energy saving measures at no
upfront cost.
Included is also advice on a range of
financial assistance to which you may be
At the end is a list of various organisations
that can offer advice and support to you
and answer any of your questions.
Now is the time to start thinking about
how you can stay warm and save money
this winter.
I hope that this guide is helpful to you in
keeping warm this winter.
Robin Walker MP
Energy Efficient Light Bulbs
Energy saving bulbs last up to 10 times as
long as regular bulbs and if you replace all
your light bulbs with energy efficient ones,
When buying new electrical products, look
you could save up to £45 each year and
for the Energy Saving Trust logo which is a
£670 over the lifetime of all the bulbs.
quick and simple way of finding the most
energy efficient products.
Fit Radiator Film
Look for the Energy Saving Trust Logo
This is the logo to look out
for when
replacing small appliances.
Electrical appliances such as televisions,
computers and kettles, as well as heating
and lighting products, will have this logo
prominently displayed.
Cosy up your Hot Water Tank
An insulating jacket for a hot water tank
does not cost very much and very soon
pays for itself. Fitting a jacket that is
75mm or three inches thick will save
about £35 each year.
Draught exclusion
Radiator film is fitted behind your
radiators onto the wall and then reflects
heat back into the room. Products vary
but some can prevent up to 45% of
external wall heat loss and this means
that less energy is needed to reach the
operating temperature.
Monitor your use
Energy monitors are proven to make
people re-think their energy use and
reduce consumption. Surveys following
people trialling such devices have found
that when people monitor their use they
become more aware of their
consumption and find ways to reduce
their bills. This can lead to people turning
appliances off stand-by, which helps to
cut costs, or ensuring that all lights are
off in rooms that are not being used.
Check around windows and doors and
see if there are any gaps where you can
feel a draught. For letterboxes, doors and Thermal linings
windows there are specific draught
exclusion products which can help keep During the winter, it might be worth fitting
extra lining to your curtains, especially if
the heat inside your home.
your property is not double glazed. This
It is very important that you do not block can help prevent heat from being lost.
where you have trickle vents fitted or air
Some companies now sell roller, vertical
bricks. These must be kept clear to
and venetian blinds which reflect heat
enable your home to breathe and avoid
back into the room and also so help to
damp problems.
retain the warmth inside.
Upgrade an old boiler
If your boiler is over 15 years old then it
could be time to replace it with a new
Whilst paying out for a service seems a cost energy efficient one. Upgrading to an Athat you can avoid regular maintenance of a rated condensing model with a full set of
heating controls, (including TRVs as
boiler can save you money in the longer
mentioned earlier) could save you a quarter
term. If you boiler is under 15 years old
then it is worth keeping it in good working of your annual heating bill immediately,
which an average of £235 for a gas heated
order to prevent more costly problems
developing further down the line. The cost home.
of an annual service will vary, depending on
the size and age of your boiler, and some Always ensure that your boiler is being
installed by a Gas Safe Engineer and that
people find that an annual contract is an
they are on the register. Details of how to
easier way of managing the payments.
find the register are at the end of the guide
under ‘Useful Contacts’
Flush out your heating system
Check Over Your Boiler
Heating systems build up sludge over time Cavity Wall Insulation
which clogs pipe work and can shorten the
life of your boiler. A sign that this might
Insulating your walls is a cost effective way
need doing is that the top, and sides of the of saving money and energy in your home.,
radiator are hot but the central column is without it you can lose up to a third of the
cold. Paying a heating engineer to flush out
heat you’re paying for. If your home was
your system will increase its overall
efficiency and reduce the cost of your bills. built between the 1920s and the 1990s
then insulating your walls could save you
£110 on your annual heating bills. Not all
Always ensure that your boiler is being
maintained by a Gas Safe Engineer and that homes can be insulated in this way, so if
they are on the register. Details of how to your home is a solid wall construction or
find the register are at the end of the guide was built before the 1920s, you may wish
to consider installing internal or external
under ‘Useful Contacts’
wall insulation which could save you £375
each year.
Support from Energy Providers:
Before you pay out for an upgrade to your Loft Insulation
boiler or for insulation do check with your
energy provider if you are entitled to help An un-insulated loft can result in you losing
under the Energy Company Obligation—see 15% of the heating that you pay for.
under the ‘Energy Providers’ section for
Insulating your loft with 270mm of
more information.
insulation could save up to £145 each
detailed below:
Renewable energy technologies take
natural resources and use them to
provide free electricity and heating rather
than relying on fossil fuels. This can help
to drive down the cost of energy as well as
reducing carbon emissions.
The Renewable Heat Premium Payment
The Renewable Heat Premium Payment is a
Government scheme that is designed to help
you to afford the renewable technology that
you may need for your home. These may
Generate your own Power
If you have the funds available, you could
install your own microgeneration units
such as solar photovoltaics (PV) for
electricity and ground source heat pumps
for heat. You could alternatively look to
finance these changes using the Green
Deal scheme (more details on page 6)
Who can apply?
How you currently heat your home will
determine which technologies you can apply
to be funded:
Whether you finance using the Green Deal ■
or directly out of your income, Government
schemes such as the Feed-in-Tariff (FIT)
can offer you an income from the
electricity that you generate and the
Renewable Heat Premium Payment
(RHPP) can help you to cover the upfront
cost of installing green heating systems.
There are a variety of renewable energy
technologies which are available for
homeowners to install which include:
Solar Photovoltaics (PV)
Solar Thermal Water Heating
Heat Pumps
Wood Fuels
Wind Energy
Solar thermal panels
Heat pumps
Biomass boilers
If you have recently removed a mains
gas heating system or currently heat
your home with mains gas, you are
only eligible to apply for solar thermal.
If you currently rely on oil, liquid gas,
solid fuel or electricity then you could
also apply for air-to-water heat pumps,
ground-source or water-source heat
pumps and biomass boilers.
You must own the property in which you wish
to install the renewable technology or, if you
rent your home, you must have permission
from the landlord and be purchasing the
installation for yourself. The property must
have loft insulation to 250mm and also
cavity wall insulation
(if this is possible in your property).
There are also a range of incentives that All the necessary planning and
have been provided by the Government to environmental permissions must already be
in place and the product and installer you
help fund these installations which are
choose must be certified under the
Microgeneration Certification Scheme
(MCS) or Solar Keymark scheme.
Microgeneration Certification Scheme
How do I apply?
Registering for FITs
You can apply for the Renewable Heat
Premium Payment online through the
Energy Saving Trust’s website at
view/rhpp. Alternatively, you can telephone
on 0300 123 1234.
The easiest way to apply for the FIT
scheme is to first contact your installer.
They will then register you on the MCS
database and send you a certificate which
will show your MCS compliance. Then you
should inform your chosen FIT supplier
that you wish to register for the FIT
Feed-in-Tariffs (FITs)
scheme. You will also have to send them a
completed application form as well as the
If you decide to install microgeneration
MCS certificate and the Energy
technology in your property, you could then Performance Certificate that proves your
apply for the Feed-in-Tariff scheme once the home has an energy efficiency rating of
installation has been completed. The
band D or better.
scheme gives you a minimum payment per
unit for the electricity that is generated by
the system and additional payments for any WHAT IS IT ALL ABOUT?
surplus electricity that is then transferred to
The Green Deal
the National Grid. These payments are in
addition to the savings that you will make
The Green Deal came into effect from
on your energy bills.
October 2012 and it is a new initiative
which will allow individuals and
The FIT scheme covers electricity that is
businesses to install energy saving
generated by the following means:
measures at no upfront cost and will really
help to improve the energy efficiency of
■ Solar electricity (PV)
properties. Millions of homes and
■ Wind turbine
businesses could benefit from
■ Anaerobic digestion (microorganisms
break down biodegradable material to improvements under the Green Deal.
Both owner-occupiers and tenants will be
release energy)
able to see the rewards of a more energy
■ Micro combined heat and power
efficient property. More help will also be
(otherwise know as Micro-CHP)
given to those who are most in need such
as those on low incomes, vulnerable
The tariffs vary depending upon when the
households and those in ‘hard to heat’
technology was installed and you can only
apply if the company installing the
technology is certified under the
How will it work?
Improvements to your property such as
loft and cavity wall insulation, underfloor
heating, heat pumps, draught proofing,
double glazing and boilers, could be
installed by an accredited provider at no
upfront cost. This will make expensive
home improvements affordable.
The first step is to get an independent and
impartial on-site assessment of your
home. The advisor will be able to identify
where your home is wasting energy and
tell you what steps you could take to
reduce this waste. They should also be
able to tell you how much you can expect
to save by installing each of these
The next step will be to choose which
improvements you would like to be made.
You can then select from a list of ‘Green
Deal Approved’ companies who have
been accredited and you can work with
them to agree the price for the work.
However, crucially, you do not have to pay
them for the work straight away.
How will it be paid for?
You can choose your payment method out
of the following options:
You can pay for the work at the time
that it is completed
You can pay for it through your energy
bill. If you choose to pay through your
energy bill then the payments will be
agreed right at the start. If you choose
to pay via your energy bill then do be
aware that if you choose to move
house then the payments stay with
that property and do not come with
The repayments via your energy bill must,
however, obey the “Golden Rule” whereby
the charge itself can never be more than
the expected savings. This means that you
should save from day one of the new
measures being installed.
For Green Deal improvements, you can
expect the savings on your bills to pay for
all the work done and in addition, by
taking steps to reduce your energy
consumption you will be better protected
from any rises in energy prices.
Who will do the work?
Many organisations will bring the Green
Deal to your attention such as the local
councils, your landlord, local community
groups, local builders or by your energy
company themselves. If you would like to
take advantage of the Green Deal
scheme, you should contact one of these
groups and they will be able to advise you
further and put you in touch with an
accredited installer. It is only those
installers who have been accredited and
will carry a “quality mark” that will be able
to carry out work under the Green Deal.
Consumer protection will be at the heart
of the Green Deal and these will include
measures such as:
New accreditation and standards
arrangements for those authorised
under the Green Deal.
Stronger cold calling protections.
A robust standard of warranties.
The cross-selling of products only
when customers have agreed this in
Regulations so that assessors must
make their role clear and disclose
when they move from making an
impartial assessment to the stage of
making a sale.
See if your property is likely to
benefit from the Green Deal at:;
If it will, then get a survey done by a
Green Deal Assessor to see what
improvements are cost effective;
Decide how you want to pay—either
upfront or via your energy bills
under a Green Deal Financing Plan;
If you decide to go ahead, you need
to find a Green Deal installer will
come and complete the work You
can find local firms here:
You can then see if you’re eligible for
cashback of up to £1,000 (only until
March 2014) at: https://
Once your installation is complete you can
still apply for a feed in tariff even though if
your improvements have bee financed
under a Green Deal Financing Plan.
For more information about how the
Green Deal and Feed in Tariffs work
together to save you even more money
Hopefully you will never need to use the
information in this section but there are
times when things do go wrong when having
improvement work done on your home.
Given that there are so many different types
of improvement possible under the Green
Deal we have enclosed a link to an online
guide to the various complaints processes
so that you can follow the right process to
get things resolved.
For more information see:
Winter Fuel Payments
Winter Fuel Payments are yearly one-off
payments that also help people to pay for
their heating bills during winter. They are
This is a payment that is made to help you paid to men and women who have reached
with the cost of heating during the winter the minimum age at which they can receive
months depending on if you are already in their State Pension. The amount that is
receipt of other benefits. You may be
paid is dependent upon your circumstances
entitled to Cold Weather Payments if you
when you apply, but it could be between
£100 and £300.
Cold Weather Payments
Pension Credit.
Income Support.
Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance.
Income-related Employment and
Support Allowance (ESA).
Universal Credit.
How to claim
Once you have reached the qualifying age
(if you were born on or before the 5th July
1952) or if you are receiving certain
benefits, you should automatically be sent
a claim form in the post.
You do not need to apply for Cold Weather
Payments as they will be automatically
If you do not receive the claim form, you
paid into the same bank account as your can request a copy of the form to be sent to
other benefit payments.
you in the post by calling 0845 915 1515
or you can download the form by visiting
A payment of £25 is made for each seven and searching for ‘Winter Fuel
day period of cold weather between the
1st November and the 31st March.
Payments will be made when the local
The form then needs to be returned to the
temperature is either:
following address:
Recorded as an average of zero
degrees Celsius or below over seven
consecutive days.
Forecast to be an average of zero
degrees Celsius or below over seven
consecutive days.
Winter Fuel Payment Centre
Department for Work and Pensions
PO Box 22
NE92 1BX
Do I need to claim?
If you do not receive a Cold Weather
Payment when you are entitled, you should You need to claim Winter Fuel Payment if
contact either your pension centre or
you have not had it before and either of
Jobcentre Plus.
the following apply:
You do not get benefits or the State
You only get Housing Benefit, Council
Tax Reduction, or Child Benefit.
Warm Home Discount Scheme
The Warm Home Discount is a four year
scheme which started in April 2011 and
will cease in March 2015. It provides
guaranteed help for the ’core group’ and
limited discretionary funding for the
‘broader group’. Therefore, it is absolutely
vital to apply to your energy supplier as
soon as possible - they will also be able to
tell you whether you are eligible to receive
support. The aim of the scheme is that the
Government is helping those on low
incomes with their energy bills.
bills. A confirmation letter of entitlement
is sent by the Government to the
recipient. Older people will be considered
as part of a ‘core group’ and will be
guaranteed the rebate, which for this
winter amounts to £135, provided that
on 20th July 2013 they were either:
75 or over and getting the Guarantee
Credit element of Pension Credit
(even if you get Savings Credit).
Under 75 and only getting the
Guarantee Credit element of Pension
Credit (you will not qualify if you also
get Savings Credit).
And all of the following apply:
Their electricity supplier is
participating in the scheme.
Their or their partner’s name is on
their electricity bill.
The Warm Home Discount is expected to
help approximately two million
households by 2014 and will be worth up
to £1.1 billion compared to the previous
‘social tariff’ scheme which was worth
only £375 million. Some energy
companies that are participating will be
able to offer more help than others. EDF
Energy, for instance, estimates that
between 40,000-45,000 customers will
benefit from the Warm Home Discount
Do I need to claim?
It is not just the elderly who can qualify
but other vulnerable households too.
Those on low-incomes or those with longterm illnesses or disabilities may also be
eligible. Electricity suppliers that are
participating in the scheme have been
requested to set aside a certain amount
which will be used to support these
households which is known as the
If you come under the core group, then
no. The Government informs energy
suppliers of households which are
eligible for the Warm Home Discount and
the energy company then gives those
households a rebate on their electricity
There may be instances, however, when
a rebate cannot be made automatically
but if this is the case, you will receive a
letter asking for you to supply further
information. If you need help in replying
to this letter then approach the Citizens’
Advice Bureau or other advice service
(contact details are at the back of the
‘broader group’. If you do not come under
the ‘core group’ but wish to apply for
discretionary funding then you will need
to contact your energy provider to make
an application.
Which providers are involved?
The energy companies that are
participating in the Warm Homes Discount
scheme are as follows:
Atlantic Energy and Gas
British Gas
EDF Energy
First Utility
M&S Energy
Sainsbury’s Energy
Scottish Gas
Scottish Hydro
Southern Electric
Utility Warehouse
If you’re worried about the cost of energy
this winter or finding it difficult to pay your
energy bills then you should firstly contact
your provider to tell them about your
concerns. There are other forms of
assistance for customers, which include:
Priority Service Register
If you are disabled, have a long-term
illness, or are over the pension age, then
you should ask your energy supplier about
registering for the Priority Service
Register. This enables you to get help
with annual gas safety checks, meter
readings, priority treatment in an
emergency and most importantly means
that you cannot have your utilities
disconnected during the winter.
Further Assistance Payments
Further Assistance Payments can be
made to help replace household
appliances or a boiler, or to help pay for
repairs. There must be an urgent need for
financial assistance and the application
needs to be supported by an appropriate
professional —for example, this
professional could be a health worker or
social worker. The professional who is
writing the letter would also need to
confirm the requirement for such a
In addition, quotes for the work would
have to be provided before any award was
To obtain an application form, please
contact 01733 421 021 or email
[email protected] Alternatively,
you can complete the form online at
EDF Energy Trust Fund
EDF Energy has created the EDF Energy
Trust Fund which is designed to award
grants to their customers to:
Help to clear domestic gas and
electricity debts.
Clear other priority debts (also known
as Further Assistance Payments).
Purchase essential household items.
For more information and details on how
to apply, visit
The British Gas Energy Trust
The British Gas Energy Trust is a
registered charity designed to offer
assistance to those customers who have
difficulty in paying their utility bills.
Individuals and families who require help
can apply to have their gas and electricity
debts cleared, and other priority debts can
be paid off in exceptional circumstances.
This help would be provided in the form of
grants which would not have to be repaid.
You can apply by completing an online
form at but
also by requesting a form through the post
by telephoning 01733 421 060.
Debt Advice
If you’re struggling with more than just
your energy bills then you can always call
the National Debt Helpline for free and in
confidence on: 0808 808 4000.
Energy Company Obligation (“ECO”)
The Energy Company Obligation or ECO is
part of the Green Deal and was
introduced by the Government to make
energy companies provide funding for
more energy efficiency methods for
households. The aim of ECO is to target
vulnerable and low income households as
well as those homes which are difficult to
heat. Providers will be obliged to
specifically set aside to provide support
with an estimated 2.8 million hard-to-treat
cavity wall properties being eligible under
It is important the ECO scheme is not
confused with the ‘green taxes’ that are
already levied on providers to help
investment in more sustainable forms of
energy. To read more about ECO please
Switching Made Easy
You could save money by switching to
another energy supplier that is best suited
to your needs. In order to get advice on
which supplier and price plan would be
best for you, you can contact the Citizens
Advice Consumer Service which offers
free and impartial advice as well as
information on how to choose and change
energy suppliers.
01992 822867
Alternatively, you may wish to do this
yourself using a price comparison site. To
help you, enclosed below is a list of
accredited sites:
08000 111 395
0845 330 7247
Energy Helpline
0800 074 0745
UK Power
0800 093 2447
0800 404 7908
0845 345 1296
Which? Switch
0800 862 0021
Important: some providers are offering
deals where you can already switch and
hold your price for up to 2016.
Future Improvements
A range of measures are being taken to
make it easier to switch suppliers. The
time that it takes to change energy
supplier is already limited to three weeks
so as to speed up the process for
consumers and so that they can start to
benefit from reduced bills a lot sooner.
The Government recognises that more
does need to be done. Therefore it is
simplifying the entire process and making
information on tariffs and price plans more
accessible and far easier to understand.
From 2014, energy suppliers will be
obliged to place customers on the
cheapest tariff and thus save money on
their bills.
Additionally, the government has
announced that there will be a competition
review, led by Ofgem, which has already
begun into the state of competition in the
market, levels of profits and judging how
well the companies engage with their
customers. This review will report in 2014.
Consumer Futures
A statutory organisation representing
consumers. Consumer Futures can help
you by providing advice and information
regarding the energy market.
Age UK
They cannot, however, discuss individual
complaints with members of the public.
DWP General Benefits Line
An independent charity, Age UK provides
information and advice for elderly people
about a wide range of issues and can
refer you to other organisations which
can provide more practical help.
Age Worcester
Malvern Gate
Bromwich Road
0800 008 6077
Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB)
For specific, tailored advice on benefits,
debt or consumer issues then you should
contact your local Citizens Advice centre.
Worcester CAB & WHABAC
By appointment only on:
0844 411 1303
For online help see::
The DWP Benefits Line is a free helpline
which can advise you on any benefits to
which you may be entitled. They can also
send you the necessary forms and help
you complete them so you can make a
0800 055 6688
Energy Ombudsman
Contact the Energy Ombudsman if you
have a problem or complaint that cannot
be resolved by your energy supplier.
In the first instance, you should always
contact your energy supplier. Only when
they have exhausted their complaints
procedures should you contact the
0330 440 1624 or 01925 530 263
Energy Saving Trust
Jobcentre Plus Benefits
A national, non-profit, organisation
providing free and impartial information
and advice on how to improve energy
efficiency in your home. Linked to a
network of local advice centres.
Jobcentre Plus can provide you with a wide
range of information and services on
issues such as which benefits, loans or
grants that you may be entitled to.
0300 123 1234
[email protected]
Gas Safe Register
Gas Safe Register is the official body for
gas safety. They can provide you with
advice on gas appliances as well as
having a clear register of all reputable
companies involved in the field of
supplying gas.
0800 408 5500
Home Heat Helpline
0800 055 6688
Ofgem is the government regulator for the
gas and electricity markets. Its purpose is
to protect consumers and does offer
consumer advice on its website.
Pensions Advisory Service
An advice helpline that can provide elderly
people with advice on benefits to which
they may be entitled.
0845 601 2923
A free helpline which can provide
practical advice for people worried about
their fuel bills. This line can also give
Winter Fuel Payment
advice to low-income households in
A form of financial help from the
urgent need of help and advice.
Government for elderly people. For
information and application forms to claim
Open from 9am-8pm Monday to Friday
the payment, please contact:
and 10am-2pm on Saturdays.
0800 336 699
08459 151 515
Robin Walker and Energy Minister, Greg Barker, investigating the workings of
Greenstar Boiler on a visit to Worcester Bosch.
Robin Walker MP
The Guildhall
This help guide has been prepared
with great care. The publisher is
not, however, liable for correctness,
completeness and accuracy of the
contents. If you wish to make a
correction, update, or addition,
please contact Robin by phone or
by email at the addresses provided
on the left hand side of this page..
Constituency Office: 01905 22401
Westminster Office: 0207 219 7196
[email protected]
Twitter: @RobinWalkerMP
Robin holds regular advice surgeries across the
area, giving you the opportunity to raise issues
or problems in person. Please either telephone
Robin’s Constituency Office or send him an
email to make an appointment.
This guide has been funded thanks to the
support of Worcester Bosch Group and not at
the expense of the taxpayer.