Energy advice

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.

Please visit the websites below for fuel and money advice:

For more providers or general advice, contact the Energy Saving Advice Service on 0300 123 1234.

Leaky Loos

Essex and Suffolk water offers a free service to fix leaking toilets, cutting down on water waste and saving money.

Green Doctor by Groundwork

Green Doctor offers free impartial advice and support to help reduce your energy bills, live in a warmer comfortable home and save money.

The Havering Energy Doctors is a free service for all Havering residents run by Age UK.

Professionals will visit your home and provide advice on energy efficiency.

They may also make small changes and repairs to your home i.e. fitting draught excluders or LED lightbulbs.

For more information visit the dedicated Energy Doctors website.

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 greenhomes@havering.gov.uk if you have any questions.

Home Upgrade Grant (HUG) Scheme

We are part of a consortia for the HUG2 scheme.

This is a Government grant scheme designed to deliver energy efficiency retrofit upgrades to off-gas heating system homes where the household meets eligibility criteria.

We are identifying areas where homes may be eligible for this grant and we have commissioned Energy Doctors that will visit these homes to discuss the scheme further. 

If you think you qualify for this scheme, based on the eligibility criteria below then please call the Energy Saving Trust on 0808 1968255.

Eligibility criteria for HUG

The Home Upgrade Grant Phase 2 (HUG2) is open to home-owners and private tenants in:

  • homes not heated by mains gas (including those heated by oil, coal, LPG or only electric heating).
  • households with a combined annual income of less than £31,000 or receiving certain income-related means-tested benefits such as Universal Credit 
  • hard to heat homes – this is based on your home Energy Performance Certificate (EPC). You will be helped with this part of the assessment and receive a free EPC assessment if you do not have one already.

Landlords who have four or fewer properties, will be able to apply and will be required to contribute at least one third of the cost of the upgrades in addition to the funding provided.

This will be agreed before work begins. 

ECO4 Scheme

The Energy Company Obligation (ECO4) scheme launched in April 2022 and is the 4th and final part of the ECO schemes to support low-income households and to create more energy efficient homes.

You may be eligible to receive a grant, which is funded by energy companies, for energy efficiency measure, including electric storage heaters or insulation for cavity walls or your loft, if you are on qualifying benefits, a homeowner or private tenant, and if your property falls under band F or G for energy efficiency. 

Upgrade your home energy efficiency before it starts getting too cold. Check if you qualify.

The Warm Home Discount Scheme for winter 2022 to 2023 has closed.

The scheme will reopen again in October 2023 and this page will be updated soon.

In the meantime, why not check to see if you are eligible for any additional benefits by completing the free online form.

Eligibility

There are 2 ways to qualify for the Warm Home Discount Scheme.

  1. You get the Guarantee Credit element of Pension Credit - known as ‘core group 1’.
  2. You’re on a low income and have high energy costs – known as ‘core group 2’.

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 percent 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.

Sign up to the Big London Energy Switch

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

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. 

Go to the Solar Together London website to register

How can you reduce your energy bills and live in a clean and safe environment, while helping with climate change?

All year round - General tips

Damp and mould

Getting around

  • Wheel, walk, cycle, or take public transport.
  • Don’t leave your car engine running if you are parked or stuck in traffic (idling).
  • Change your driving style: change gear earlier, brake sooner and keep to the lower reaches of your rev range.
  • Avoid using air con in your car.
  • Look after your car: check oil, air filters and tyre pressure.
  • Take a reusable water bottle with you on every journey.
  • Consider car sharing when possible.

Eating and drinking

  • Source food locally where possible.
  • Buy seasonal fresh food 
  • Throw less food away
  • Give up chewing gum - it takes 500 years to disintegrate!
  • Eat fewer animal products, try Meat-Free Mondays.
  • Wrap bread in waxed paper or fabric instead of Clingfilm.
  • Choose FAIRTRADE goods.
  • Avoid products which use palm oil. Forests are destroyed in order to produce it.

Shopping

  • Shop locally if you can. 
  • Take your own shopping bags when you pop to the shops.
  • Use refillable containers for dry goods if possible.
  • Be careful with online returns. 30 to 40 percent of online goods are returned. 20 percent of these end up in landfill as they are not re-sold.

Everyday living

  • Consider using reusable nappies and wipes for your little ones.
  • Use charity shops for children's toys and books.
  • Social media groups offer free clothes and toys that older children have outgrown.
  • Try reusable period products if possible.
  • Avoid glitter.
  • Recycle all the waste products you can in Havering's orange bags.

In the winter

Service your boiler

Boilers need to be looked after if you want them to last longer and be more efficient. An annual boiler service will achieve that, but don't forget, it's vital that you use a Gas Safe Registered Engineer.

Keep the heat in

Lots of warmth escapes through windows, so close your curtains before darkness falls or while you are out to keep the heat in.

Wooden and tiled floors look lovely but they let heat escape, so putting a rug down will keep the heat in and keeps your toes warm.

Once your dinner comes out of the oven, why waste all that heat? Leave the oven door open to transfer the heat into your kitchen, but make sure you keep children and pets away from the door.

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 percent 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.

In the summer

Keep your blinds closed

Keep your blinds closed, especially 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 percent.

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.

Ceiling fans

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.

Choose cotton

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 light bulbs

If you’re having trouble cooling your home and can’t work out why, incandescent light bulbs 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.

Keep up to date with our plans to tackle climate change in Havering. Go to our climate change page to find out more.

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