We want to help you make your home warmer, cosier and healthier for the winter months, reduce your fuel bill costs and let you know about grants that can help you.
The Warm Home Discount Scheme
You could get £140 off your electricity bill for winter 2021 to 2022 under the Warm Home Discount Scheme.
The money is not 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 your supplier provides you with both gas and electricity. Contact your supplier to find out.
The discount will not affect your Cold Weather Payment or Winter Fuel Payment.
There are two ways to qualify for the Warm Home Discount Scheme:
How you apply for the Warm Home Discount Scheme depends on how you qualify for the discount.
Pre-pay or pay-as-you-go meters
You can still qualify for the discount if you use a pre-pay or pay-as-you-go electricity meter.
Your electricity supplier can tell you how you’ll get the discount if you’re eligible, for example a voucher you can use to top up your meter.
Park (mobile) homes
You apply a different way if you live in a park home.
Park homes applications open in the autumn. Find out how to apply for the Park Homes Warm Home Discount.
Contact Charis Grants for more information about the scheme.
Charis Grants can only answer questions about the Park Homes Warm Home Discount.
Energy Company Obligation Flexible Eligibility
Under phase four of the government’s Energy Company Obligation (ECO4), the energy suppliers can achieve up to 50% of their obligation by installing energy saving measures to owner-occupied or private rented households that are declared eligible by themselves or local authorities.
Phase 4 of the Energy Companies Obligation allows local authorities to make declarations determining that certain households meet the eligibility criteria. Phase 4 of the Energy Companies Obligation is optional therefore local authorities and energy suppliers are obliged to take part.
Residents of Knowsley may receive letters or flyers from companies or lead generators offering measures under the Energy Companies Obligation. The measures on offer include;
- Replacement boilers and heating systems
- Insulation (wall and loft)
- Renewable energy technologies (solar panels)
The companies or lead generators will check a resident’s criteria to see if they meet national or local eligibility criteria. Those who qualify through Knowsley Council’s local eligibility criteria (see Statement of Intent below) are asked by the company or lead generator to provide evidence of their eligibility and to sign a privacy agreement to share their data.The company or lead generator then submits an application form to the local authority and if the eligibility criteria are met and the correct evidence is provided, a “Local Authority Declaration” is provided to them.
The declaration does not entitle you to any grant, which is at the discretion of the installation companies and is subject to a home energy survey.
Knowsley Council does not oversee the Energy Companies Obligation or recommend any installation companies. The Energy Companies Obligation is administered by OFGEM and all installers working on the scheme must be registered with Trust Mark.
Residents must ensure that the installation company proposing to carry out works under ECO is a Trust Mark Registered Business for the works being carried out. Please visit trustmark.org.uk to check.
To see if you qualify for the scheme please see the attached Statement of Intent.
Winter fuel payments
If you were born on or before 26 September 1955 you could get between £100 and £300 to help you pay your heating bills. This is known as a ‘Winter Fuel Payment’.
You will get your Winter Fuel Payment automatically (you do not need to claim) if you’re eligible and either:
- get the State Pension
- get another social security benefit (not Housing Benefit, Council Tax Reduction, Child Benefit or Universal Credit)
If you do not get either of these, or if you live abroad, you may need to make a claim.
If you’ve got a Winter Fuel Payment before, you do not need to claim again unless you’ve deferred your State Pension or moved abroad.
The deadline for you to make a claim for winter 2021 to 2022 is 31 March 2022.
When you’ll be paid
Most payments are made automatically in November or December. You should get your money by 14 January 2022.
If you do not get your payment, contact the Winter Fuel Payment Centre.
Any money you get will not affect your other benefits.
Winter Fuel Payments are different to Cold Weather Payments
Cold weather payments
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 2020 to 2021 Cold Weather Payment scheme has now ended. You’ll be able to check if your area is due a payment when next year’s scheme starts on 1 November 2021.
Cold Weather Payments are different to Winter Fuel Payments.
Take action if you are having difficulties paying your utility bills
Contact your electricity or gas supplier and tell them of your difficulties. They will then help you set up a payment plan. If you have a fuel debt you may be able to apply for a grant to reduce or clear your arrears.
The British Gas Energy Trust the EDF Energy Trust and NPower Energy Fund all have schemes to help customers who are low income households facing financial difficulty.
You can ring the organisations on 01733 421060.
Scottish Power now has a Hardship Fund to help their customers who are struggling to pay their gas and/or electricity arrears. The Scottish Power hardship fund can be accessed here or they can be contacted on 0808 800 0128.
Top tips on saving energy
- Turn your thermostat down. Reducing your room temperature by 1°C could cut your heating bills by up to 10 per cent. If you have a programmer, set your heating and hot water to come on only when required rather than all the time
- Is your water too hot? Your cylinder thermostat should be set at 60°C/140°F
- Close your curtains at dusk to stop heat escaping through the windows and check for draughts around windows and doors
- Always turn off the lights when you leave a room
- Do not leave appliances on standby and remember not to leave laptops and mobile phones on charge unnecessarily
- If possible, fill up the washing machine, tumble dryer or dishwasher. One full load uses less energy than two half loads. Where possible use the economy setting
- Only boil as much water as you need (but remember to cover the elements if you're using an electric kettle)
- A dripping hot water tap wastes energy and in one week wastes enough hot water to fill half a bath
- Fix leaking taps and make sure they're fully turned off
- Use energy saving light bulbs - they last up to 10 times longer than ordinary bulbs
- Have cavity wall insulation and/or loft insulation fitted - it will make your home warmer and cosier and save money on your fuel bills
- Defrosting your freezer can increase its energy efficiency. When the ice inside builds up to more than a quarter of an inch thick, this can prevent the door seal from performing correctly and the cold air that your freezer is working hard to generate will escape into your home.
Getting the best energy deal
You can reduce what you pay for your energy in two ways:
1. Pick the cheapest payment methods
In most cases, direct debit is the cheapest way to pay and could save you up to £100 per year on your energy bills.
Your own supplier may also have a cheaper tariff they could offer you, this could include dual fuel offers, meaning you combine your gas and electric with one supplier.
It is always best to contact your own supplier first to see what they could offer you before switching with another supplier.
2. Shop around for the cheapest deal
If you do decide to change energy suppliers, you may be able to save up to £200 on your annual energy consumption by shopping around for the best energy deals.
Ofgem, the energy regulator, has accredited certain independent price comparison services that have signed up to a 'Confidence Code'. You can view the list on the Ofgem website.
Financial Inclusion and benefits maximisation
There are a number of local and national organisations offering free and impartial financial advice and support, including credit unions, local advice agencies and national advice agencies.
Further financial information can be found on the financial advice pages.
Priority Services Register
If you are a pensioner, have a disability or suffer from a long term health condition, you can access a range of benefits and advice about your energy bills, metering and other help.
You can register with your energy supplier’s Priority Services Register for:
- Password protection for your security
- Moving your prepayment meter or credit meter
- Free meter readings
- Having your bill sent to a friend, relative or carer for them to check for you
- Alternative cooking and heating facilities if your gas supply is disrupted
- Advance notice if your electricity supply needs to be interrupted
- Services for customers with visual or hearing impairments
- Free annual gas safety checks
To register you must contact your energy supplier directly.
Affordable Warmth Strategy
Our Affordable Warmth Strategy explains how we are working with our partners to support households in Knowsley which are unable to afford adequate heating.
Energy Projects Plus Save Energy Advice Line
The council is working with Energy Projects Plus to provide free advice and help to residents with their energy costs.
Residents can call the Save Energy Advice Line for free on 0800 043 0151 Monday to Friday, 9am -5pm, or email [email protected].
Through this, you will receive:
- Free and impartial advice on energy efficiency.
- Free and impartial advice on issues associated with fuel poverty including relative costs of different fuels and support to increase income e.g. benefit health checks.
- Information on local and national grants to fund home energy improvement measures.
- Applications to schemes to support residents make their homes warmer and more energy efficient.
Residents who need more support will be directed on to other Energy Projects Plus services, including:
LEAP (Local Energy Advice Partnership) who provide home visits (or ‘virtual home visits’) to owner occupiers, private tenants and social housing tenants. Support can include:
- Installation of ‘easy measures’, including LED bulbs and draught-proofing.
- Assessment of white goods for possible free replacement.
- Support in reviewing energy bills and referral for benefits maximisation.
- Assistance with boiler repairs or replacements
- All clients will also be offered further energy efficiency/fuel poverty advice, based on the observations of our Energy Advisor.
Warmth For Health
This supports low-income homeowners with a chronic health condition, to fund the repair/replacement of heating appliances that don’t attract funding through the government’s flagship, ECO, programme. Heating measures can include:
- Repairing/replacing a faulty radiator.
- Repairing/replacing a faulty electric fire.
- Repairing/replacing a faulty gas fire.
- Repairing/replacing a faulty hot water cylinder.
- Repairing/replacing faulty central heating pipework.