From October 1st this year energy prices began to rise as the energy price cap increased. This change coincided with the end of the furlough scheme and a payment cut of £20 per week to Universal Credit. British households will be £1,000 worse off next year from a cost of living squeeze created by rising energy prices, according to the Resolution Foundation.
According to the latest government data, 13.4% of households in England were already in fuel poverty in 2019. A new report by Groundwork has examined the lessons learned through tackling fuel poverty during the pandemic. The report found that more households have needed advice and support to manage their energy bills.
Groundwork’s Community Energy Advisors, Green Doctors, are independent energy efficiency experts and offer support and advice tailored to individual household needs. From energy use, changes in habits, help and awareness of benefits such as the Warm Home Discount Scheme, to debt support as well as practical steps such as fitting small energy saving measures in homes.
The Community Energy Advisors are seeing more urgent and complex cases. To try to help further, they offer this simple guide to some of the more frequently asked questions the energy crisis has provoked:
What are the changes to the price cap?
The Energy Regulator OFGEM has allowed an increase to the Energy Price Cap for domestic customers, by to £1277 a year for an average household. This is just the amount an average household will pay the amount you pay will depend on how much energy your household consumes.
My energy company is going out of business, what do I do?
Because the price of Gas and Electricity purchased by the Energy Companies is now higher than the price, they are able to charge existing customers, some of the smaller energy companies have been unable to sustain the losses and have gone out of business.
Ofgem will appoint another company to take over the customers of the supplier that has gone out of business, there should be no loss of supply.
- wait until a new supplier has been appointed and you have been contacted by them in the following weeks before looking to switch to another energy supplier
- take a meter reading ready for when your new supplier contacts you. This will make the process of transferring customers over to the chosen supplier, and honouring any funds that domestic customers have paid into their accounts, where they are in credit, as smooth as possible.
I’m worried about being able to afford to pay for fuel this Winter, what can I do?
- Our advice is to heat your home as normal
- Check out whether your supplier has a Warm Homes Discount scheme
- If you haven’t already got one get a smart meter, you can use the smart meter to help you economise on energy usage. Your supplier’s online account normally gives a great deal of information about your Smart usage, we can help you analyse the data.
If you need any help with any of the above contact the Green Doctors 01132380601
To show the help our Green Doctor’s provide this is the story of EJ
“If it wasn’t for Green Doctors I would still be crying”
EJ was referred by Manningham Housing Association for fuel voucher, she is a single parent with Smart pre-payment meters for both gas and electricity. On a follow up telephone call, she mentioned high cost of electricity. I talked the customer through her smart meter display and found out her annual usage of electricity was 7281kWh, that’s about 3 households worth.
We went through a process of elimination about appliances that could use that much electricity, she mentioned that she had a hot water cylinder. I asked EJ to send pictures of the cylinder via WhatsApp and I noticed her emergency immersion heater switch was in the on position. I asked her to switch it off. I rang two days later to check she still had hot water, she did
A further follow up call revealed her electricity usage was now 22KWh pre week, that is an equivalent of 1,144 kWh per annum six times less than her previous usage.
- We also helped her claim £140 Warm Homes Discount.
- Redress vouchers £126
- Warm Homes Discount £140
- Potential Energy saved over year £981.92