Coventry Citizens Advice

Energy Saving

Coventry Citizens Advice believes everyone can save money on their energy bills but many people don’t know how. The week beginning January 22nd is national Big Energy Saving Week. See how you can benefit.

According to recent figures approximately 16% of Coventry households live in fuel poverty. This is above the national average; and worse for those with pre-payment meters or not connected to the gas grid. Across England, every winter, over 26,000 people die because of living in cold homes (known as ‘excess winter deaths’). And thousands get ill.

Cold Kills – Keep Warm this Winter!

Key facts

In Coventry:
In a recent survey, 26,651 Coventry households were defined as ‘fuel poor’. This was 21.1% of the local population. Over 70% of ‘fuel poor’ households are made of the elderly, lone parents, those with long term illness and others with particular disabilities (particularly respiratory and cardio-vascular problems).

Heat and Health:
In Britain a cold spell during a mild winter is followed:
• 2 days later by a sudden rise in heart attacks
• 5 days later by a big rise in the number of strokes
• 12 days later by a big rise in respiratory illness.

Other cold-related illnesses include asthma, influenza, common colds, bronchial illness and pneumonia. Winter-related disease due to cold private housing costs the NHS over £850m annually. Nationally, on average, there are over 25,000 ‘excess winter deaths’ between December and March.
For more on this go to: https://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/ng6 .

Energy Efficiency-Saving (top tips):
• turn down your thermostat – depending on your health needs
• reduce the default temperature of your water
• eliminate draughts
• switch off lights/appliances that are not in use – including not charging phones/laptops overnight
• contact an expert energy advice agency (see below) and ask about an ‘energy health check’.

Saving Money on Your Bills:
• check you are on the best tariff for you – switching supplier could save you over £200
• switch to online billing
• switch to payments by direct debit
• use the same supplier for both gas and electricity
• take regular meter readings – don’t rely on estimated bills

Addressing Fuel Poverty:
• Fuel Direct – you may be able to get your fuel bills deducted directly from your benefits
• Warm Homes Discount – ask your energy supplier if this discount applies to you
• Energy Trust Funds – if you have large arrears you could get financial assistance
• Switching to a meter – this can be a better way to control usage and reduce bills (get specialist advice before choosing this option)
• For general money management advice look at: https://www.moneyadviceservice.org.uk/en or contact your local Citizens Advice Bureau.

Expert Energy Advice Agencies / Useful Websites:

Citizens Advice - www.bigenergysavingweek.org.uk
Coventry City Council – www.energysavinghomes.org.uk
Energy Saving Trust – www.est.org.uk
National Energy Action – www.nea.org.uk
Ofgem – www.ofgem.gov.uk
Energy Ombudsman – www.ombudsman-services.org/sectors/energy

Switching Your Energy Supplier:

If you are thinking about switching your energy supplier visit Citizens Advice’s website to compare energy prices - https://energycompare.citizensadvice.org.uk  (Be sure to check with your existing supplier whether they can offer you a better deal).