Saving energy and money

At this time of national emergency, when we are being told to stay at home, many will be using more energy at home than usual. The information below is designed to help all North Kesteven residents (whether they own their own or rent their home), to ensure energy bills are kept to a minimum and those in difficulty can access the extra help available.

The government has agreed measures with energy companies to provide extra support to customers during the Corona virus outbreak. Therefore do not struggle, contact your energy company. Here is a summary of what’s been agreed;

Energy bills

Suppliers are aware customers may currently be struggling. Contact them if you need help. Support could include debt repayments and bill payments being reassessed, reduced or paused. Lines may be busy so try online options (websites, apps etc.)  first if you can.

Ask for help if you need it. Neighbours and many communities in NK are finding ways to safely support one another.

Prepayment meters

Get in touch with your supplier if you are self-isolating or are unable to top up your prepayment meter

Support in place to ensure customers stay connected could include, someone topping up your prepayment card for you, a discretionary fund being added to your meter, or being sent a pre-loaded top up card. If you have a smart prepayment meter remember you can top up remotely.

Read more about the measures the government and energy companies have agreed

Read the energy and advice for customers published by energy companies

The Money Saving Expert website offers guidance on finding the best tariff. Most people never change their energy suppliers and spend more than they need to. The cheapest tariffs are often the greenest too, so with many at home more than usual, or facing increased financial pressure, now is the time to switch. 

The Lincolnshire Energy switch is part of a national collective switching scheme. We are out of contract with the provider and therefore no longer actively promote the scheme or support residents to use it. However, it is still available for residents to sign up to if they wish. There is no obligation to switch, but if you do it is all done for you. This method of switching is not open constantly. The best tariff is found by running auctions. Therefore the opportunity to switch is only available after each auction and the winning supplier is known.

Heating water is expensive. Keep your bills down, especially if you are now at home more than usual, by using your hot water and heating efficiently.

  • Since there are no universal controls for central hot water and heating systems most people spend more on energy because they don’t know how to programme their system…Watch how - central heating

  • Leaving electric immersion heaters turned on constantly is one of the most expensive ways to heat hot water. Set the programmer if there is one (see the video link above, your programmer is likely to be similar) or switch your immersion on and off manually, inconvenient, but money saving! Used correctly, heating your hot water separately is more energy efficient in summer when you are not using the heating as well.

  • If you have storage heaters, they can be tricky to use, but can be a cheap and efficient way to heat your home if you get it right…Watch how - storage heaters

Only use safe options to heat your home

We understand that many struggle to pay their energy bills and many resort to any method of heat available, even if it is unsafe. During the global Corona virus pandemic there is extra help available, so call your energy company if you need support, and then hopefully you won’t need the following advice to stay safe; 

  • Only use items designed to heat your home
  • Don’t use items that look unsafe or are clearly damaged
  • Never use hobs and ovens. Gas ovens give off poisonous gases.
  • Be extra careful around heaters that could cause burns or a fire, keep things and people well away from them

If you’re having works done in the property it is important you use a qualified and accredited person or company. If you’re paying for the works we advise you get at least 3 quotes as prices can vary significantly. The works you have done in your property should be covered by a guarantee or warranty. To make sure your works are eligible, use only accredited installers. Check on the Trade Accreditation Schemes list so you know what to look for.

Cavity wall and loft insulation can improve energy efficiency and save you money on your heating bills. Some energy firms are offering free insulation to those who qualify. To check what schemes may be available visit the Money Saving Expert website or see the section below on Support for central heating, insulation and other energy efficiency improvements.

Take a look at each of the links below to find out more about each of the type of insulation and the benefits and savings they will make. You can also see how to find an installer and the relevant Trade Accreditation Schemes and warranty guarantees to look out for. Types of energy efficiency insulation options:

The Energy Saving Trust says boilers account for about 55% of what people spend each year on energy bills, so an efficient boiler makes a big difference. Depending on your boiler's age, a shiny new efficient one could save you up to £260/year. Together with the right heating controls you can save money and feel warm.

Types of energy efficiency heating and hot water system options:

For further information on heating schemes that could be available to you, see the section below on Support for central heating, insulation and other energy efficiency improvements.

Some providers offer an energy fund scheme – this can include both grants to help cover energy arrears, and (sometimes) Further Assistance Payments to contribute towards things like white goods, boiler repairs or funeral costs. Apply via these links: British Gas Energy Trust / EDF Energy Trust / E.on Energy Fund / Npower Energy Fund / Scottish Power Hardship Fund.

Also see the Cheap Gas & Electricity guide.

Check out the energy saving quick wins to help you save more money on your energy bills.

Lincs 4 Warmer Homes has been coordinated by all the Lincolnshire local authorities (including North and North East Lincolnshire) so that residents can easily access advice and support, and to ensure as many residents entitled to subsidised heating and insulation receive installations.  

Visit the Lincs 4 Warmer Homes website to complete an enquiry form or call 01472 326434

The Warm Home Discount requires the big suppliers, by law, to help vulnerable customers pay for energy. Those who get the Guarantee Credit element of Pension Credit, are on a low income, and meet their energy supplier’s criteria are eligible to get a £140 rebate on energy bills this winter.

Energy bills can be confusing. You may find the video on the Energy Saving Trust Energy Quick Wins page useful.

Estimated bills are likely to be overestimated so submit regular meter readings to your supplier.

North Kesteven District Council are supporting the Energy Saving Trust who are running a chimney draught excluder trial on behalf of the energy regulator, Ofgem. We are looking for homes to test the Chimella, a chimney umbrella featured on Dragon’s Den which prevents cold draughts.

If you are selected to take part, you will receive a free Chimella worth £75 and a guaranteed £25 bonus cash prize. The questionnaire will check your eligibility, but everyone who signs up will also be entered into a £100 cash prize draw!

Take part