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Financial Wellbeing

Help with the rising cost of living

We understand the rising cost of living and energy bills may be having an impact on our customers. We’ve put together some advice and useful links if you are struggling.

Paying your rent
If you are experiencing financial problems that could affect your payment of rent, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. An early conversation can help us agree a plan if you are struggling to pay your rent or are incurring arrears. Please get in touch with your Customer Advisor who will be able to advise, as well as pointing you in the right direction for more specialist help.

Affording rising energy bills
If you are struggling to pay your energy bills, you should contact your energy provider as soon as possible to see what support is available to you. Depending on your circumstances, you may be eligible for extra help with your energy bills, such as debt repayment plans, payment breaks, emergency credit for prepayment metered customers etc. We urge you to contact them immediately if you are struggling to pay and tell them about your situation.

Ofgem, the UK energy regulator’s rules mean energy providers must offer payment plans that you can afford and if you are in difficulty, you can ask for ‘emergency credit’ if you use a prepay meter and can’t top up.

The government has also announced support to help households with rising energy costs.

Charis has a handy grants and benefits eligibility checker and operates funds you can access from energy providers.

Should I switch energy providers?
If you’re on a standard (variable) tariff or you have a fixed tariff that is due to end, a standard (variable) tariff is likely to be the cheapest option available at the moment. However, there are some fixed tariff deals available but please be cautious when comparing. We recommend checking Martin Lewis’ Money Saving Expert advice for up-to-date information on the energy crisis.

Although you may be paying more for your energy, you can look at ways of reducing the amount you pay. Check if you qualify for various discounts from your energy provider such as:

- dual fuel discount for having the same supplier for both gas and electric
- discount for paying by Direct Debit
- discount for paperless billing and managing your account online

Energy rebates - additional financial support for 2022

- £200 rebate loan on energy bills

UK households will receive a £200 discount on their October energy bill. It will be automatically given to eligible households in the UK. However, this will need to be paid back in instalments starting in 2023.

- £150 council tax rebate

All households in England in council tax bands A - D will now be receiving a £150 rebate for April 2022. In Scotland every household in receipt of Council Tax Reduction in any band will receive £150 and all other occupied households in bands A – D will also receive a £150 rebate in April 2022.

For more information on these support schemes in England, please click here.

For more information on these support schemes in Scotland, please click here.

In addition to these support schemes, your local authority will also have funding available that may help you. This could include the ‘household support fund’ which provides small grants to meet daily needs such as food, clothing and utilities. To find out who your local authority is and to visit their website for more information, please click here.

Cold Weather Payment
You may get a Cold Weather Payment if you’re 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.

You’ll get £25 for each 7-day period of very cold weather between 1 November and 31 March.

The Cold Weather Payment scheme runs from 1 November 2021 to 31 March 2022. Check if you can get a payment in your area. For more information, please click here.

Child Winter Heating Assistance (Scotland)
Child Winter Heating Assistance is a payment to help disabled children and young people and their families with increased heating costs over winter.

It’s paid once a year. The payment for winter 2021-2022 is £202. Payments are usually made from the end of November onwards. For more information, please click here.

Winter Fuel Payment
The Winter Fuel Payment is a payment of between £100 and £300 to help towards your winter heating bills. If you were born on or before 26 September 1955 and you get the State Pension or another social security benefit (not Housing Benefit, Council Tax Reduction, Child Benefit or Universal Credit), then you may be eligible. For more information on the Winter Fuel Discount, please visit www.gov.uk/winter-fuel-payment.

* While we link to other websites, we can’t be responsible for their content.

Energy saving advice

Do you want to save energy but are not sure where to start? Here are some of our top tips to help you save money on your energy bills.

Tweak the heat
Turning your thermostat down by as little as one degree can help you reduce your energy bill and the amount of carbon dioxide produced. This is an easy saving, and you won’t be able to feel the temperature difference. If you want to take things a bit further, you can lower the temperature even more and layer-up with some jumpers and woolly socks.

Let the light in
Turn off lights in the day – open your curtains or blinds first thing in the morning and make the most of the natural daylight. This can help to reduce your energy consumption. During the winter months, it can be tempting to switch on a light during the day. If you do need to switch the light on, switch to an LED energy saver, these bulbs can help reduce your energy bill and your home’s carbon impact. Don’t forget, if you leave a room then get into the habit of switching the lights off!

Load it up
If you can, try not to start your washing machine or dishwasher if it’s only half full. Starting a wash with a half-empty load makes these appliances less energy efficient, if you can wait until you have enough for a full load, you’ll be saving water and energy. Also avoid using tumble dryers when you can – this is one of the most expensive appliances to use in your home.

Go eco
Many modern appliances have an eco-mode that helps them save energy. Fridges, freezers, washing machines and dishwashers may have an eco-setting, turning them on can be an easy way of using 30-60% less energy and cutting down your bills.

Unplug
A good energy-saving habit is to turn off unused appliances at the socket when not in use. Did you know unplugging laptop and phone chargers while we’re not using them can have an impact on bills and usage? Even if it’s not connected to your phone or laptop, a charger can still use energy, so it’s always a good idea to unplug them or switch off at the mains.

Standby savers
Did you know many of our appliances such as TVs consume up to 90% of their energy in standby mode? Buying energy-saving plugs or standby savers cut the power to your appliances by recognising when they have entered standby mode or with the flick of a remote control. This can help you save energy and money.

Cup of tea?
Make sure you only fill the kettle with enough water to make your favourite hot drink. This can save you wasting energy and money on your bills.

Quick showers
Having quicker showers reduces the amount of energy and water you use. Aim to take shorter showers each day and it will help you reduce your energy bills and water usage.

Smart meters
A smart meter can let you see how much energy you are using and send meter readings to your energy supplier, meaning they can bill you accurately for the energy you’ve used. Having a smart meter won’t automatically save you money or energy, you can use it as a tool to help you keep track of how much energy you’re using then look at ways to reduce it. To see if you are eligible for a smart meter, please contact your energy supplier.

Get your boiler serviced regularly
A well-maintained boiler will heat your home efficiently and result in less chances of your boiler breaking down. Please make sure your boiler is regularly serviced – we will write to you each year to carry out a gas service on your boiler, if you have an overdue service please contact us. When we come to do a gas service, we can also offer advice on boiler settings to help you reduce wasting energy.

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