The cost of heating and powering our homes has risen significantly over recent years. Help is at hand to reduce your energy use, cut your costs and improve your home.
Coronavirus and energy efficiency advice
We work closely with a not-for-profit organisation, Act on Energy, who offer free and impartial advice on all matters energy related. For advice on energy issues in your home speak to one of their advisors by calling Act on Energy’s free helpline on 0800 988 2881. An advisor will be able to deal with your enquiry Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm, or alternatively you can email them.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, Act on Energy are not currently able to offer their usual face to face advice sessions through home visits or at public venues. Advisors are still able to offer more in depth energy saving advice via phone on 0800 988 2881.
The Energy Regulators, OFGEM, have written a handy guide on the responsibilities of energy providers during the lockdown and worries that many people may have during the current period. This includes advice for self-isolating prepayment customers and for people who are worried about paying their energy bills as a result of the current situation. Advice for people with problems getting to or topping up pre-payment meters is also available from Citizens Advice.
Simple changes at home can help reduce the amount of energy used. National Energy Action and Smart Energy GB have produced a short video on 10 Energy Saving Tips During Coronavirus.
Depending on your individual circumstances, you may be entitled to support for insulation and heating through schemes funded by the main energy companies and other grants. Funding towards the cost of energy efficiency measures such as loft and cavity wall insulation is currently available through Warmer Worcestershire.
Visit our Housing pages for advice on adaptations, improvements and repairs, including Disabled Facilities Grants and Home Repair Assistance loans.
The government’s Green Homes Grant Voucher Scheme provides funding towards energy efficiency and low carbon heating improvements. To find out more or to apply visit the official Green Homes Grant website.
Low - income home owners can now apply to Wyre Forest District Council for funding to make their home more energy efficient. The Green Homes Grant Local Authority Delivery scheme is available for loft insulations, solar panels, draught proofing and the installation of high heat retention storage heaters.
We work closely with a not-for-profit organisation, Act on Energy, who offer free and impartial advice on all matters energy related. For advice on energy issues in your home or small business, speak to one of their advisors by calling 0800 988 2881.
- Only boil the amount of water you need.
- Ensure your dishwasher/washing machine is full before use.
- Dry clothes outside when possible.
- Use low energy/LED bulbs and switch off lights when not needed.
- Switch off appliances when not in use rather than leaving them on or on standby.
- Ensure radiators/storage heaters aren’t blocked by furniture.
- Use your thermostats and timers appropriately: see Act On Energy’s No cost/low cost advice leaflet for further advice on this and lots more energy saving tips.
Condensation occurs when warm, moist air (produced by activities such as bathing and cooking) hits a cold surface such as a window or cold wall.
Condensation can lead to mould growth which can contribute to respiratory problems e.g. asthma. Condensation can be tackled by reducing moisture in your home, e.g. by covering pans when cooking, drying clothes outside or in a tumble drier which is vented outside, and by making sure your home is adequately ventilated.
See Act on Energy’s Condensation Advice for further tips.
We teamed up with switching specialists iChoosr to give residents the chance to take part in a collective energy switching scheme through the Wyre Forest Energy Switch.
258 Wyre Forest households switched suppliers through the Wyre Forest Energy Switches which took place in May 2017 and Feb 2018. These households are estimated to have saved a combined total of £65k per year on their energy bills by switching through the scheme. The next Wyre Forest Energy Switch is due to open in December 2020.
Smart meters are the new generation of gas and electricity meters which will replace the traditional meters in our homes. Every home in England, Scotland and Wales will be offered a smart meter by their energy supplier, at no extra cost, between now and 2020. Your supplier will be in touch to arrange an appointment when they are ready to install yours.
Smart meters will enable you to see exactly how much energy you’re using as you use it, and what it is costing in pounds and pence. They take regular readings and share these directly with your energy supplier through a secure wireless network, putting an end to estimated bills and manual meter readings.
For more information about smart meters visit Smart Energy GB.
The Business Energy Efficiency Programme is available throughout Worcestershire, Herefordshire and Telford & Wrekin offering FREE energy assessments and grants to small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs).
The Worcestershire Low Carbon Opportunities Programme offers free renewable energy audits or low carbon product, process or service innovation and development advice, as well as related grants, to small and medium sized enterprises.
Community First provides useful information on Greening your community building.
A household is said to be in fuel poverty if their income is below the poverty line (taking into account energy costs) and their energy costs are higher than is typical for their household type.
Living in cold, damp homes can exacerbate health conditions, particularly cardiovascular and respiratory illnesses. We recognise that improving the energy efficiency of the district’s housing stock has multiple benefits- social, economic and environmental. Activity to tackle fuel poverty is included in our Climate Change Strategy and Annual Action Plan. We work with other local organisations, and through the Warmer Worcestershire network, to run events and schemes to help residents save energy. We also run training for front line workers to help them recognise the signs of fuel poverty and advise on available support, please contact us for details.
We produce a report every 2 years setting out cost effective energy conservation measures to improve the energy efficiency of homes in the district, as required by the Home Energy Conservation Act (HECA).Read Wyre Forest District Council’s 2017 HECA Report.
See lighting your home efficiently for advice on different types of lighting and running costs.
The Energy Company Obligation (ECO) is a government energy efficiency scheme in Great Britain to help reduce carbon emissions and tackle fuel poverty. The Help to Heat element of the Government's ECO programme, also described as the Home Heating Cost Reduction Obligation (HHCRO), focuses on low income and vulnerable householders. These are householders who receive specific benefits and, for tax credits and universal credits, are below a certain income threshold. This eligibility criteria is set by Government.
As part of Help to Heat, ECO legislation is permitting Local Areas to define additional criteria in their area to help those fuel poor households that fall outside the Help to Heat eligibility but are still in need of support. This is called the flexible element or flexible eligibility. This requires a Statement of Intent to be produced.
This statement of intent and subsequent declarations do not guarantee funding and/or the installation of measures for any household. All measures will be subject to technical survey by the procured delivery partner. Schemes may close suddenly and funding withdrawn if delivery partner targets have been achieved. The delivery of the flexible eligibility going forward is subject to government policy.
Funding is currently available in Worcestershire for 150 first time gas central heating systems in urban areas.
To be eligible the householder or tenant must be in receipt of qualifying benefits and live in a privately owned property (improvements to social housing cannot be funded). Private landlords can apply for 50% funding towards the cost of a first time gas central heating system.
Funding for this scheme was awarded to the Warmer Worcestershire Network from the National Grid Warm Homes Fund. The project will run until May 2021 unless all funds are allocated before this date.
Act on Energy are currently offering eligible residents a free service to help people keep warm and reduce their energy bills. Act on Energy Home Energy Advisors can:
- install free simple energy saving measures such as LED light bulbs and draught-proofing
- check if you’re on the best energy tariff via our dedicated energy switching service
- arrange a free money advice consultation
- help you find funding for further energy-saving home improvements.
The eligibility requirements are designed to target households that either are already in, or are at risk of falling into fuel poverty. It is open to all types of householders – homeowners, private renters and social housing tenants. Contact Act on Energy on Freephone: 0800 988 2881 or Email firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more.
DEFRA has released information regarding cleaner domestic burning of solid fuels and wood, following a consultation carried out in 2018.
Changes will mean:
Sales of bagged traditional house coal will be phased out by February 2021, and the sale of loose coal direct to customers will end by 2023
Sales of wet wood in small units (less than 2m3) will be phased out from February 2021. Wet wood in volumes greater than 2m3 will also have to be sold with advice on how to dry it before burning
Makers of solid fuels will also need to show they have a very low sulphur content and only emit a small amount of smoke.
It is not banning wood or coal burning stoves.
Smoke control information from Worcestershire Regulatory Services.
DEFRA also has some awareness leaflets available on their website.