If you would like impartial and independent energy advice to help you reduce your energy bills, make your home warmer, plan home improvements and make your home greener, please check out Simple Energy Advice for more information.
Alternatively you could also visit any of the websites below for fuel and money advice:
For more providers or general advice, contact the Energy Saving Advice Service on 0300 123 1234.
The Government offers a number of grants and schemes to help with:
- fuel bills
- ensuring your home is more energy efficient
- installing energy efficient measures including loft, wall and floor insulation
You can email the Green Homes Team at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions.
Across the UK, many households will have seen that the cost of gas and electricity has risen by approximately 50 per cent since April 2022 as the energy price cap, the limit on what energy suppliers can charge, has increased.
This shift has seen many feeling the pinch, but there are changes you can make to try and keep energy costs under control.
Energy-saving improvements could make your home more efficient, keeping a lid on rising energy prices.
Some households across the South East may even be eligible for a government grant to fund energy-efficiency works.
Sustainable Warmth is a Government grant scheme designed to fund energy-efficiency upgrades to residents who are most likely to be impacted by the high cost of rising bills.
These improvements will help residents to use less energy and spend less on their energy bills.
How it helps
- Energy saving tech and upgrades installed by approved installers
- Creating warmer, healthier homes
- Helping to cut carbon emissions
- Funding available for homes on and off the gas grid
The energy-efficiency grants will cover a range of energy-saving home improvements designed to balance the needs of residents with carbon reduction and grant availability.
What energy saving improvements can I get for my home?
Energy and cost-saving upgrades that you may be able to get for your home
- Insulation and ventilation upgrades
- An upgrade to a low carbon heating system (the new heating system cannot include a gas or oil boiler)
- Heating controls
- Solar PV (that generates free electricity)
- Energy Efficient lighting
- Grant available
For homes connected to the gas grid, the grant is up to £10,000.
For homes not connected to the gas grid, the grant is on a sliding scale, from £10,000 to £25,000.
The exact amount available is dependent on the Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) of the home and the fuel source that heats the home currently (the EPC can be determined by the programme if it is unknown).
Privately rented properties
To qualify the tenant must meet the income eligibility and the landlord will need to contribute a minimum of one third towards the cost of the upgrades in addition to the grant provided.
For privately rented properties connected to the gas grid, the grant is up to £5000.
For privately rented properties not connected to the gas grid, the grant is on a sliding scale, from £10,000 to £16,666.
The exact amount available is dependent on the EPC of the home and the fuel source that heats the home currently.
If overall costs exceed the maximum grant available, additional investment by the landlord will be required.
Costs and the contributions expected from the landlord will be agreed prior to commencement of work.
To be eligible for Sustainable Warmth Funding the following criteria must be met.
The household must be a private domestic dwelling in England with an EPC rating of E, F or G.
There is a 30 per cent cap on Band D properties, and with high interest in the scheme and a high proportion of D rated properties put forward already, you may be placed on a waiting list if your home is D rated.
If your property’s EPC is unknown, it can be determined by the programme.
The household must have one of either:
- a household income of no more than £30,000 before tax or any other deductions
- an income where cost of living is below £20,000 eg after rent or mortgage costs
- a household number (eg number of dependents) which stretches income to a position where they would be in fuel poverty
The scheme is open to private tenants/landlords and homeowners, who can check their eligibility by calling 0808 196 8255 or through the Sustainable Warmth online application.
For further information, please contact email@example.com
If you are on a low income you may be able to get £140 off your electricity bill for winter 2021 to 2022 under the Warm Home Discount Scheme.
The money is not paid to you - it’s a one-off discount on your electricity bill, between October and March.
You may be able to get the discount on your gas bill instead if your supplier provides you with both gas and electricity. Contact your supplier to find out more.
There are 2 ways to qualify for the Warm Home Discount Scheme:
- you get the Guarantee Credit element of Pension Credit - known as the ‘core group’
- you’re on a low income and meet your energy supplier’s criteria for the scheme - known as the ‘broader group’
How you apply for the Warm Home Discount Scheme depends on how you qualify for the discount.
Visit the gov.uk website to see if you qualify.
SHINE is a London wide referral network, which offers a free energy advice service for Londoners.
They have a dedicated helpline and affordable warmth interventions to ensure households get the help and support they need to reduce utility bills and stay warm.
SHINE accepts referrals for any tenure of household i.e. owned or rented, but households need to have an income below £16,190 per year or have a family member in a SHINE target group (has a disability, long term health condition, child under 15 or an adult over 60).
SHINE offers: advice on saving energy and reducing bills grants available for heating and insulation support with energy and water debt water and electricity discounts inclusion in supplier vulnerable customer registers Energy Doctor home visits to install energy efficiency measures i.e. draught proofing doors and windows.
You can contact SHINE directly Monday to Friday between 9am and 5pm on 0300 555 0195, or visit the SHINE website for more information.
Big London Energy Switch
Around 50 per cent of people have not switched energy suppliers in the last 3 years. This means they are usually on a 'Standard Variable Tariff' which is typically more expensive.
Collective energy switching uses the power of numbers to get a competitive offer. The London Borough of Havering is part of the Big London Energy Switch, the largest energy switching community.
The Big London Energy Switch groups residents from across the country to get the most competitive offer.
It’s quick, easy and free to sign up usually taking around five minutes to complete the online form.
The Big London Energy switch will then hold an auction where pre-vetted energy suppliers compete for your custom.
A personal offer will then be sent to you directly at which point you can choose to accept or decline the offer. If you accept the offer they will handle the whole switching process for you and within a few weeks you will switch to your new tariff.
However if you chose to decline the offer you will be given the option to stay in contact and be included in another auction later in the year.
A dedicated helpdesk is available to handle all your enquiries via their online contact form or over the phone, and they are also on social media - Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.
Solar Together London is a collective purchasing approach to increase domestic rooftop solar in London, in support of the Mayor of London’s Solar Action Plan.
This form of collective purchasing aims to reduce costs, guarantee quality and take the hassle out of buying solar panels for Londoners.
Households and small businesses across London can register their interest in having high quality solar photovoltaic panels (PV) on their roofs to generate electricity.
There is also the opportunity to have electric vehicle charging points and battery storage – helping you capture energy when it’s being generated and use it later.
Registration is free and does not commit you to anything, but the more people that register, the better the deal for each household.
How can you reduce your energy bills while helping with climate change?
In the summer
Keep your blinds closed
Keep your blinds closed, epecially on north and west-facing windows, to significantly cool your home.
Better yet, invest in some block-out curtains to shield your home from that harsh summer sun.
Block the heat
Stopping heat getting into your house in the first place means spending less on cooling.
Shade windows and walls using external coverings, like blinds, awnings or large potted plants.
Plant deciduous trees that cast shade over your home in summer, but still let the sun shine through in winter.
If you can, invest in window tinting and top up your ceiling insulation. It will help keep the warmth in in winter too.
Just one degree Celsius more
Try not to use air conditioning, but if you must, set the thermostat to between 24-27ºC, or as high as you feel comfortable with. Increasing your thermostat by just 1ºC in warm weather can reduce the running cost of your appliance by about 10 per cent.
If you’re looking to upgrade your air-conditioner, pick one with a high energy-star rating and do your research to ensure you choose the right type of air-conditioner for your home.
Sometimes you might feel like ceiling fans just push the hot air around your home rather than cool it down. Well you’re not wrong – fans that aren’t rotating counter-clockwise may be doing just that.
Set your ceiling fans to rotate counter-clockwise in summer to push air straight down helping to create a cooling effect and clockwise in winter to pull cool air up.
In warmer weather, set the fan speed high and in cooler weather it works best on low.
Ceiling fans can also be used to complement other cooling types, so checking they rotate in the correct direction can make a world of difference to the temperature of your home.
Close doors and seal gaps
Close doors to rooms you aren’t using to keep cool air where you need it most.
Seal gaps around doors and windows, and use draught excluders to ensure the cool air can’t escape.
Hang out in the evening
Closing your windows and staying inside may be a great idea during the day, but when it gets cooler in the evening you may want to open your house up to cool your home naturally – just make sure you lock up overnight.
Cooking dinner in the backyard may be a cooler alternative to being in a steamy kitchen too, so make the most of a cool breeze when you can.
Chill out, not chill on
Sip icy-cold drinks, apply a damp cloth to your neck and other pressure points on your body, or have a cold shower to cool your body without needing to switch the air-conditioner on.
Hack a fan
No air-con? No worries. A cleverly-positioned bowl of ice is all you need to turn a fan into a cold mist machine.
Place a shallow bowl or pan of ice in front of a fan for an icy-cool breeze that won’t break the bank.
Cotton fabrics are super breathable and help cool your body. Wear light, loose clothing made of breathable fabrics like cotton, and fit your bed with cotton sheets.
Change your lightbulbs
If you’re having trouble cooling your home and can’t work out why, incandescent lightbulbs might be to blame.
They produce a lot of heat, so switching to energy-saving bulbs can help cool your home and save heaps on energy costs. That’s a win-win.
In the winter
Bleed your radiators
As temperatures start to drop, don't forget to check that water is flowing through your radiators properly.
When the heating is on, touch to check the heat of the top and bottom of your radiator.
If the top is cool and the bottom is warm, you may need to bleed your radiator.
You can find out how to do this on Google.
Check out the Christmas lights
No Christmas tree is complete without all the decorations and lights, but remember LED lights use 90 per cent less energy than conventional ones.
Remember to turn the lights off before you go to bed or even set them on timers.
Turn it down
Set your thermostat to a comfortable temperature, typically between 18 and 21º C.
Even if it’s cold outside you do not need to turn your thermostat up, the house will heat up to the temperature set.
Is your water too hot? Your cylinder thermostat should be set at 60ºC/140ºF.
Change your lights
Use energy saving light-bulbs, they last up to 10 times longer than ordinary bulbs and using one can save you around £55 over the lifetime of the bulb.
Remember to always turn off the lights when you leave a room.
Keep an eye on your appliances
Don't leave appliances on standby and remember not to leave laptops and mobile phones on charge unnecessarily.
Leaving plugs switched on still uses energy even if the phone is not attached.
Be water efficient
Only boil as much water as you need.
A dripping hot water tap wastes energy and in one week wastes enough hot water to fill half a bath, so fix leaking taps and make sure they are fully turned off.
Be energy efficient
If possible, fill up the washing machine, tumble dryer or dishwasher. One full load uses less energy than two half loads.
If you have a programmer, set your heating and hot water to come on only when required rather than all the time.
Keep up to date with our plans to tackle climate change in Havering. Go to our climate change page to find out more.