Reduce Energy Costs
With the cost of heating and powering our homes becoming more expensive, paying for energy bills can often be a worry for many people. The following guidance seeks to provide information on ways you can reduce your fuel bills while still staying warm. When looking at ways to reduce your bills and make every penny spent on energy in your home go as far as possible, there are many things to consider and it can be quite daunting knowing where to start. This guidance will provide you with an overview of the different options that are available to help make your home more energy efficient.
Perth and Kinross Energy Advice
Home Energy Scotland (HES) provides free, impartial advice on making your home warmer, more affordable and greener. Whatever a person’s circumstances and wherever they live in Scotland, Home Energy Scotland can help them. You can contact Home Energy Scotland on freephone 0808 808 2282 or visit https://www.homeenergyscotland.org/
The Home Energy Advice Team, or HEAT, is funded by Perth & Kinross Council for the benefit of households in the area and delivered by local social enterprise, SCARF, which has 35 years of experience delivering energy advice.
HEAT delivers an in-home advice and advocacy service, tailored to the needs of individual customers.
The service is completely free and impartial and helps homeowners and council, private or housing association tenants to manage their fuel spend effectively while maintaining a warm, dry and comfortable environment.
Our comprehensive advocacy service supports households in dealing with energy suppliers for issues such as tariff switching, fuel debt or billing and metering issues. HEAT advisors can help households find, and switch to, the best supplier or tariff to suit their needs and budget and can also act as a dedicated third-party contact to deal directly with suppliers on the customers’ behalf.
Additionally, HEAT advisors are linked into a much wider support network across the region and can signpost households to additional support for a range of issues including substance abuse, debt, and food shortages.
Advisors from HEAT are free to call on 0808 129 0888 or email [email protected]
The Heat Project is part of Blairgowrie and Rattray Development Trust, a registered charity. The project provide a free, professional energy advice service to households, including owner occupiers, private landlords and tenants to help them reduce their energy bills and meet Scottish Government Energy Efficiency Targets. The project also provide guidance on alternative heating systems. The project area includes (North and East Perthshire) Coupar Angus, Blairgowrie and Rattray, Pitlochry, Dunkeld, Birnam and Perth.
Before you start to shop around and compare offers it will be helpful if you can gather together details about your current energy deal. This information will usually be shown on the annual summary that you get from your energy supplier or on your bill. You should gather together the following details:
- Information about the tariff you are currently on – including the name of the tariff, what the unit rate is, whether there is a standing charge and whether there is an exit fee
- How do you currently pay for your energy
- How much energy have you used during the past year
- Your postcode
If you already get the Warm Homes Discount you should check to make sure you will still get this help if you decide to switch.
You can check this with your energy supplier or call HEAT free on 0808 129 0888 or visit scarf.org.uk for more advice. You could use this online tool from Citizens Advice Scotland: https://energycompare.citizensadvice.org.uk
If you decide to stay with your current energy supplier but you want to change to a different payment option or tariff, your supplier will arrange the change for you. Simply get in touch with them and tell them what you would like to do. Once you have agreed the change, they should then write to you confirming the details of your new contract.
With energy constantly in the news lately and more people talking about energy, there has also been a rise in energy scams. Common scams include online ads, cold calling, or leaflets with time limited grants. Availability of grants can rush people into giving money to dishonest organisations. If it sounds too good to be true, it usually is. It is advised that you do your own research before committing to anything.
It can be difficult to tell which offers for energy efficiency products and schemes are real and which are scams. It is also confusing to navigate choosing the right technology for you, as well as choosing an installer and finding funding. Home Energy Scotland are the Scottish Government’s expert advice service, which will help you make the right choice in becoming more energy efficient.
Top tips in avoiding energy scams:
- Avoid cold callers and social media adverts. Online surveys from adverts or phone surveys from cold callers should be avoided. These collect your data and create leads for dishonest companies who try to pressure you into singing expensive contracts for things you don’t need. Do your own independent research to find out more about grants and funding schemes.
- Have an impartial assessment done before agreeing to have work carried out. Ensure this isn’t done by a company who cold calls you as they may not be impartial. Find out how energy efficiency measures can be tailored to your home to benefit you. An assessment should let you know if any planning permission is required before installation. A building warrant may also be required
- Speak to at least three trusted companies to provide a quote before having any work done. Ensure you look at reviews on credible review sites and mandated accreditations such as MCS. Always check to see if they offer warranties or guarantees before work is started.
- Check financial protection is offered. Ensure you are aware of total costs and length of credit agreement if applicable. Read all the terms and conditions before signing paperwork.
- Report any concerns about a purchase that you or a relative has made to Advice Direct Scotland on 0808 164 6000.
For more information on how to avoid energy scams, you can check out Trading Standards Scotland energy scams playlist.
SAVE MONEY - GRANTS AND DISCOUNT SCHEMES
There are a range of local and national grants and schemes available through the Scottish Government Home Energy Scotland Programme to help lower fuel bills and install, replace, or invest in energy saving measures. These can fund or part fund energy efficiency measures such as boilers, insulation and renewable technologies. It’s always worth calling Home Energy Scotland on freephone 0808 808 2282 to see if you qualify for any schemes currently available in your area. A list of grants and schemes available to become more energy efficient can also be found at Ofgem and Home Energy Scotland.
What is the Warmer Homes Scotland programme?
The Scottish Government’s Warmer Homes Scotland programme offers funding and support to households struggling to stay warm and keep on top of energy bills.
The programme is accessed by contacting Home Energy Scotland, who will check what support is available. If your household is eligible, we will then make a referral to Warmworks. Warmworks is the managing agent for Warmer Homes Scotland.
How to apply?
Visit Home Energy Scotland for more details, guidance on eligibility and the application process.
Who is the programme for?
Warmer Homes Scotland is designed to help people make their homes warmer and more comfortable by installing a range of energy saving improvements. The Scottish Government is offering assistance to homeowners and private sector tenants struggling to heat their home, who have lived in their home for at least twelve months, and who meet the eligibility criteria.
What's available through the programme?
The improvements offered will depend on a survey of the home. Assessors will come to your home to survey it and will recommend improvements suitable for the home, which could include a range of insulation and heating.
In most cases all costs will be met by the Scottish Government. Please note, funding cannot be accessed for work that's already been carried out. All home improvements funded by Warmer Homes Scotland must be managed by the approved installer.
In some cases a customer contribution will be required for more expensive improvements, such as solid wall insulation. An interest free loan is available to help meet the costs of the customer contribution. The loan is subject to a credit check and includes an administration fee. More information about the loan will be provided by Warmworks if there is a customer contribution to pay. The loan is managed by Energy Saving Trust for the Scottish Government.
Potential improvements include:
- Wall insulation
- Loft insulation
- Central heating (inc. new gas boilers)
You could get £140 off your electricity bill for winter 2021/22 under the Warm Home Discount Scheme. The money isn’t 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 get both gas and electricity from one supplier
The discount won’t affect your Cold Weather Payment or Winter Fuel Payment.
There are 2 ways to qualify for the scheme
- You get the Guarantee Credit element of Pension Credit – known as the ‘core group’
- You are on a low income and meet your energy supplier’s criteria for the scheme – known as the ‘broader group’
How you apply depends on how you qualify for the discount
For details about participating suppliers visit www.gov.uk/the-warm-home-discount-scheme/energy-suppliers
Your electricity supplier will apply the discount to your bill. If your supplier is no longer trading, you may still be eligible for a Warm Home Discount. Ofgem will appoint your new supplier for you.
For further details call HEAT on freephone 0808 129 0888 or visit www.gov.uk/the-warm-home-discount-scheme
You could get between £100 and £300 tax-free to help pay your heating bills if you were born on or before 5 April 1954. This is known as a ‘Winter Fuel Payment’. Most payments are made automatically between November and December. You should get your money by 31 March 2021. If the money isn’t paid into your account before then, call the Winter Fuel Payment Centre. You usually get a Winter Fuel Payment automatically if you are eligible and you get the State Pension or another social security benefit (not Housing Benefit, Council Tax Reduction, Child Benefit or Universal Credit). If you are eligible but don’t get paid automatically, you’ll need to make a claim. For more details contact the Winter Fuel Payment centre on 0800 731 0160.
Cold Weather Payments help some households in an area where a period of exceptionally cold weather has occurred.
You may get a Cold Weather Payment if you are getting certain benefits or support for Mortgage Interest. You’ll get a payment if the average temperature in your area is recorded as, or forecast to be, zero degrees celsius or below over 7 consecutive days. This year’s scheme is due to start on 1 November 2021. After each period of very cold weather in your area, you should get a payment within 14 working days. It is paid into the same bank or building society account as your benefit payments. You’ll get a payment of £25 for each 7 day period of very cold weather between 1 November and 31 March. For more details contact visit either www.gov.uk/cold-weather-payment or www.scarf.org.uk for further details.
The Energy Company Obligation (ECO) is a government energy efficiency scheme in Great Britain to help reduce carbon emissions and tackle fuel poverty.
The scheme began in April 2013, and over time it has been amended. The latest changes to the scheme took effect from October 2018 and run to March 2022. The latest version of the scheme is known as ECO3.
You can see a summary of the changes made to the scheme in 2018 on the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy’s website.
The new scheme has been designed to focus on providing support to low income, vulnerable and fuel poor households. The scheme will continue to deliver energy efficiency and heating measures to homes in Great Britain
15% of measures are to be delivered to rural homes and an increased proportion of the scheme (25%) can be delivered under local authority flexible eligibility (Perth & Kinross Council have published a Statement of Intent which relates to ECO eligibility).
The new scheme will also allow energy suppliers to meet their obligations through the delivery of new, innovative products
Find out more about ECO by visiting www.ofgem.gov.uk or by calling Home Energy Scotland on freephone 0808 808 2282.
You may be eligible for a one off reduction of up to £75.00 on the amount of Council Tax you have to pay if you install energy efficiency measures in your home under a specific scheme arranged through Perth & Kinross Council.
For more information about this scheme please contact Local Taxes on 01738 477430
HEEPS was launched in 2013 and is a Scottish Government initiative to tackle fuel poverty and increase energy efficiency in homes. HEEPS comprises a cluster of programmes currently including:
- Area Based Schemes (ABS)
- Cashback Scheme
- Loans Scheme
It offers energy efficiency advice, information on low cost energy tariffs, and advice on income maximisation, as well as a wide range of energy efficiency measures.
Area Based Schemes
The Home Energy Efficiency Programmes for Scotland - Area Based Schemes, has already helped to provide insulation improvements to more than 2000 homes throughout Perth and Kinross. These schemes have mainly included the provision of external wall insulation, cavity wall insulation and loft insulation. The works have been targeted towards improving houses that were built using non-traditional construction methods, which are often very hard to treat. The works can often be fully funded for home owners and private landlords using a combination of grants from the Scottish Government (HEEPS) and from Energy Companies (ECO). Perth & Kinross Council will notify you if your home is included in an Area Based Scheme.
Warmer Homes Scotland
This national scheme opened to applications on September 2015 and is worth at least £16 million per year. It is available to vulnerable private sector households (tenants of private landlords or owner-occupiers). The scheme is available across Scotland but being delivered on a regional basis by Warmworks Scotland (including a separate Islands region) to ensure that all households, including those living in more remote parts of the country, get the same level of service regardless of their location.
Warmer Homes Scotland offers fabric measures, such as insulation, as well as heating measures to improve the energy efficiency of the Scottish housing stock and to sustainably reduce fuel bills. It also includes micro-generation measures to offer a wider range of heating options to off-gas households. Call 0808 808 2282 for details.
The Scottish Government makes available interest free, unsecured loans of up to £15,000 to householders for installing a variety of measures such as solid wall insulation, double glazing or a new boiler. The HEEPS Loan scheme is open to owner occupiers and registered private sector landlords in Scotland. The repayment period varies based on the intended amount to borrow but those taking out higher value loans will be able to pay back over 10 years.
How do I find out more? - The Energy Saving Trust manages delivery of the national schemes through the Home Energy Scotland hotline on behalf of the Scottish Government. To find out what they can offer you, telephone the hotline on Freephone 0808 808 2282 or visit the Home Energy Scotland website at www.energysavingtrust.org.uk/scotland