If you’re struggling or unable to pay your energy bills, contact your energy supplier as soon as possible. Ofgem is working closely with energy companies to make sure they support you in any way they can. Their rules mean you can ask to agree payment plans and you may be eligible for extra help through grants and services.
Advice from Ofgem includes
Make your home energy efficient
Making your home more energy efficient can help keep your bills as low as possible.
It’s not always easy to make big energy changes when you're on a tight budget but there are some little fixes you can make in your home for free.
The Energy Saving Trust offers practical advice for lowering energy usage in your home, we've listed some of the things you can do below.
Energy efficient LED lighting can help lower electricity bills.
Lighting makes up 11% of the average UK household electricity consumption, so making the switch could help you save money.
How much could I save?
An efficient heating system that you can control easily can help reduce your fuel bills.
'Heating controls' is a broad term covering timers, thermostats, plumbing and electronic components that help you manage when the heating should be on and what temperature your rooms should be.
Heating controls are improving all the time and you can upgrade or install heating controls without replacing your boiler.
Take control of your heating.
Draught-proofing is one of the cheapest and most effective ways to save energy and money in your home.
To draught-proof your home, you should block up unwanted gaps that let cold air in and warm air out - these could be around windows, doors, chimneys, floorboards, skirting boards and pipework.
Saving warm air means you’ll use less energy to heat your home, so you’ll save money as well as making your home snug and warm.
Fix common draughts.
There are many simple yet effective ways to insulate your home to significantly reduce heat loss and lower your heating bills.
Cavity wall insulation or external wall insulation is effective but can be expensive. Remember to check if you're eligible for free insulation through the Staffordshire Warmer Homes Scheme.
Little fixes around the home can mount up to significant savings in your energy bills - fitting your hot water cylinder with an insulating jacket could save you £70 a year in heating costs.
Insulating your home.
A heat pump captures heat from outside and moves it into your home. It uses electricity to do this, but the heat energy delivered to your home is much more than the electrical energy used to power the system.
Find out more about the different types of heat pumps
Remember to check if you're eligible for a free heat pump through the Staffordshire Warmer Homes Scheme.
Solar panels, also known as photovoltaics (PV), capture the sun’s energy and convert it into electricity that you can use in your home.
Sunlight is free, so once you’ve paid for the initial installation, your electricity costs will be reduced. Use the Solar Energy Calculator to find out how much money you could save.
Guide to solar panels from the Energy Saving Trust.
Remember to check if you're eligible for free solar panels through the Staffordshire Warmer Homes Scheme.
Be Warm. Be Safe.
When you're trying to cut back on your energy bills, it's important not to cut fire safety. Check out the top tips from Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service to make sure you stay warm safely this winter.
Go to Be Safe. Be Warm.
Support to make your home more energy efficient
Staffordshire Warmer Homes
If your household income is below £31k, or someone in your home claims means tested benefits, you could be eligible for free support through the Staffordshire Warmer Homes Scheme.
Support includes free solar panels, free air source heating systems or free home insulation.
Check if you're eligible for support from Staffordshire Warmer Homes.
You can also sign up for weekly tips to live a more green and sustainable lifestyle with our Make Staffordshire Sustainable newsletter.
Beat the Cold
If you need help to make your home more energy efficient Beat the Cold are a Staffordshire charity who offer independent advice and support.
You can get help with reducing your energy costs, dealing with bills and debt and they can tell you about any grants and discount schemes you're eligible for.
They offer support over the phone or for people who need more assistance they offer home visits.
Visit the Beat the Cold website
If you live in Newcastle under Lyme or Staffordshire Moorlands you could be eligible for a free consultation to help you stay warm and save money. The Green Doctor scheme supports people who are on a low income, living with debt, have physical or mental health issues or are in receipt of benefits.
Apply for a consultation
If you're not eligible for a consultation they share their best energy saving tips online for everyone to try.
Get energy saving tips from the Green Doctor scheme.
Energy supplier grants
Many energy companies offer schemes or grants to help with home heating and energy costs. They can help you make your home more energy-efficient or offer free boiler checks and upgrades.
You don’t have to be a customer to join some of these schemes.
Citizens Advice lists grants some larger suppliers offer. Talk to your supplier about grants and schemes they run too.
Energy price cap
The energy price cap is a backstop protection from the government.
It limits the rate a supplier can charge for a unit of electricity. It doesn't cap your total bill, which will change depending on how much energy you use - the more units of electricity you use the more you'll pay.
The average family shouldn’t pay more than £2,500 but if you use more energy then you will pay more.
Check how the price cap will affect your bills on the Ofgem website.
Energy bill discount
£400 off energy bills for households from this October. This automatic, non-repayable discount will be applied in six instalments between October 2022 and March 2023 to help households through winter.
There's no need to apply for the scheme and you will not be asked for your bank details.
Find out more about the energy bill discount on GOV.UK.
Winter fuel payments
In the winter months pensioners can get between £100 and £300 to help pay heating bills.
This winter, they will also receive an extra one-off £300 Pensioner Cost of Living Payment, which will be paid as an automatic top-up to the Winter Fuel Payment.
Check if you’re eligible for the Winter Fuel Payment.
Have you overpaid for your energy?
There's been a rise in scammers claiming to be from one of the ‘big six’ energy companies or Ofgem.
If you receive an email, using official logos, claiming you have overpaid for your energy and asking you to fill out a form with personal and financial information for a refund, it's likely to be a scam.
There are also fake text messages claiming to be from GOVUK, with a scam link to energy.bill-rebate.com.
You can protect yourself with this quick three-step check:
- If you’re asked to pay an upfront fee, it could be a scam
- If you’re asked to pay quickly, it could be a scam
- If you’re asked to pay in an unusual way, such as vouchers or money transfer, or asked for your bank details, it could be a scam
Worried you've been scammed?
Advice and support in your community
If you’re struggling with energy costs, help may be closer than you think.
You can find local groups, charities and organisations offering advice and help with paying energy bills on our Staffordshire Connects directory website.