What is Fuel Poverty?
Fuel poverty in England is measured using the Low Income Low Energy Efficiency (LILEE) indicator.
A household is fuel poor if:
Coping with rising energy bills
Make sure you’re getting the best deal on gas and electricity. The way you pay for your gas and electricity also has an impact on the amount it costs. Buying both gas and electricity from the same supplier can cost less. Paying by monthly direct debit rather than quarterly bill usually saves you money. Some suppliers offer benefits such as money off future bills for switching to paperless bills. Gas and electricity can be more expensive if you use a pre-payment meter. Some energy companies offer you the chance to fix your energy prices over a certain period of time. This means your bills will not go up if the price of electricity or gas goes up – but remember that they will still go up if you use more energy.
Coping with the rising energy bills in the current market can be difficult, therefore taking some of the following steps can help avoid fuel debt:
Only pay for the electricity and gas that you actually use therefore provide regular meter reads or have a smart meter installed to do that job for you.
Choose the right payment method, certain methods offer discounts. Paying by monthly direct debit can attract a discount as can opting for paperless billing.
Take advice on choosing an energy provider. Switching providers and choosing a fixed term tariff can help you get a better energy tariff. DDC offer a supported no obligation to switch scheme. To find out more please visist the Collective Energy Switching Scheme
Alternativly, energy switching options are available through Ofgem accredited comparison sites. To find out more please visist the Ofgem Switch supplier or energy tariff
If you are worried about keeping up with your rent repayments there are a lot of organisations who can offer free and impartial advice:
A good place to start for help if you begin to struggle is the Citizens Advice website.
Kent Money Advice is a scheme operated by Citizens Advice and is supporting people living in kent who are struggling financially or need support to manage the rising cost of living through its new Money Advice Hub. The service is free to use.
Household Support Fund - Dover District Council has received funding from Kent County Council to support households who would otherwise struggle to buy food or pay essential utility bills or meet other essential living costs of housing costs this winter as the economy recovers
The StepChange Debt Charity offer solutions via its online debt counselling service Debt Remedy.
The National Debtline offer free, independent advice.
Kent Savers - call them 0333 321 9050 (Mon-Fri 9am to 5pm) or 0300 456 9990 from 5pm to 8pm, and weekends from 8am to 8pm
Money Advice Service: moneyadviceservice.org.uk or call 0300 500 5000
How to read your gas or electricity meter
If you have a standard meter - your supplier needs regular readings from your gas or electricity meter to work out your bills. If you don’t send them readings, they’ll estimate your usage. This means your bill might be too high or low.
Energy prices are currently higher than they have been for a long time, and although small measures are not going to undo the huge rises in cost you may be witnessing , the following tips will help to save the pounds and can soon add up.
Be efficient around the home
Here are a few things that you should consider around the home:
Turning down your thermostat by 1oC could save you up to £55 a year.
You can save around £35 a year just by remembering to turn your devices off standby mode. Most electronic devices can be turned off at the mains without affecting their programming.
Consider having a smart meter installed if your supplier offers it. This helps to indicate where you are spending the most on your energy, so you can take steps to cut down the usage in them areas where possible.
Changing all your standard light bulbs to energy saving light bulbs could save you up to £45 a year. Remember to switch off lights when not required or leaving a room too.
Sharpen up in the kitchen
The Kitchen is a great start where you can make subtle changes to help reduce your energy bills:
Using your dishwasher one cycle less per week could save £8 a year on energy.
Using your washing machine one cycle less per week could save £8 a year on energy.
Only filling the kettle with the amount of water you require will save around £6 a year.
Look to use the most energy efficient appliances to ensure you are not spending more than you need to.
Washing your clothes at 30-40oC will save you money as 90% of a washing machine’s energy is used heating the water.
Choose the right size pan for cooking and use the lid. Choose the right size ring to fit the pan or turn down the gas. Keeping pans covered will also help reduce condensation which can cause mould growth and spoil decorations.
Be smart in the bathroom
Personal hygiene is important for helping to keep your body healthy and clean, but you can still make small changes to reduce your energy usage for this daily activity:
Help with heating/boiler repairs and insulation
There are funding streams that DDC can access for households that live in the least energy efficient homes and have inadequate heating or lack insulation. These schemes are focussed on helping residents on a low income who are vulnerable to living in a cold home (elderly/ health conditions) or in receipt of certain benefits.
If you think you may be eligible, please call 01304 872414 or email email@example.com
Help with your energy bills
Every household in the UK will get £400 towards energy bills this winter. You don't need to apply, the money will be paid automatically in six instalments between October 2022 and March 2023 and you won't need to pay the money back.
This year anyone that normally gets the winter fuel payment for pensioners will get an extra one off-payment of £300. This will be paid automatically. Visit our discount and energy grant schemes page for information about other ways you can save money.
If you are unable to pay your energy bills, please visit our Energy page for advice.
Government energy support this winter
All households with a domestic electricity connection in England, Scotland and Wales are eligible for the discount.
If your circumstances change
You’ll still get the discount if:
you switch electricity supplier
you move to a new address
your supplier goes bust
you’re in arrears on your electricity bill payments
How you’ll get the discount
You do not need to apply for the discount, and there’s no need to contact your energy supplier.
The discount will be applied to your monthly household electricity bill for 6 months starting in October 2022. You’ll get
£66 in October and November
£67 in December, January, February and March
You’ll get the discount monthly, even if you pay for your energy quarterly or use a payment card.
Traditional prepayment meter users will get equivalent vouchers that you will need to redeem - Click the below link for more information.
If you have a traditional prepayment meter
Your electricity supplier should provide more guidance on the scheme before it starts.
If you have not received your first instalment by the end of October 2022, you need to contact your supplier.
If you’re a direct debit customer
You’ll get the discount automatically in one of the following ways, as:
If you pay by standard credit or payment card
Your discount will be automatically applied as a credit to your account in the first week of each month. The credit will appear as it would if you had made a payment.
If you have a smart prepayment meter:
Your discount will be credited directly to your smart prepayment meter in the first week of each month.
If you have a traditional prepayment meter:
You’ll get the discount from the first week of each month. You’ll get the discount automatically in one of the following ways, as:
redeemable vouchers, sent by SMS text, email or post
an automatic credit when you top up at your usual top up point
Your electricity supplier will let you know in advance how you will get your discount.
Your supplier should have your contact details, but if you’re not sure or you don’t receive any information from them, you should check that they have your latest number and email.
If you get vouchers you’ll need to redeem them at a top-up point. Your supplier will tell you where to redeem them, for example at a Post Office branch or a PayPoint shop.
Payzone outlets are unable to accept the vouchers.
If you’re in debt to your energy supplier, you might be able to get a grant to help pay it off. For more information on paying it off visit Citizens Advice. You may be able to get other kinds of support, including:
Advice from our partners
Dover, Deal and District Citizens’ Advice can help with employment issues, debts, housing, applying for benefits, food vouchers, immigration issues, tax, consumer issues, financial matters, relationship and family issues. They can help with benefit appeals. They have a team of people at the end of the phone and can access directly legal help when needed.
Kent Fire & Rescue Save Safely
If you’re thinking about doing things differently at home to bring down the price of energy bills, it’s important to remember do so safely. This can include thinking about the hazards that come with changing your usual routine.
To find out more about energy saving tips, heating hazards and financial advice follow this link Savesafely | Kent Fire and Rescue Service (fire-uk.org)
Green Doctors offer free, impartial advice to help you take control of your bills, save energy where possible in the home, and access other services and initiatives available.
They can provide different kinds of support, whether that’s advice on paying off debt with energy or water companies or spotting other concerns for a referral to other services.
Some of the reasons people ask them for help are:
Worrying about keeping warm or choosing between eating and heating.
Feeling that the home is cold, damp, or draughty.
Respiratory problems e.g. asthma or a persistent cough
To visit their website click the below link:
Green Doctor, helping UK residents stay warm, stay well, and save energy. - Groundwork
Tel: 01304 872414