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Energy and water advice for residents

Review your energy bill

You might be able to get a better deal with an existing or new supplier by contacting them directly. You can also visit comparison websites to see if you could be getting your energy cheaper by switching, make sure you’re aware of any exit fees on your current tariff.

It can be cheaper to pay by direct debit compared to paying your bill by cash or cheque. If paying by direct debit submit meter readings regularly so payments are based on what you are using rather than estimates.

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Collective switching and purchasing

Consumers can group together to negotiate a better deal with their gas and electricity suppliers.

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Make your home warmer, more efficient, and reduce your energy bills

Energy used in homes is responsible for over a quarter of all UK emissions of carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas causing climate change, so making your home as energy efficient as possible and reducing the amount of energy you use is one of the most effective ways of reducing your fuel bills and helping to mitigate climate change.

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Quick home energy wins

  • Always turn off the lights when you leave a room
  • Try not to leave the fridge or freezer door open for longer than necessary
  • Avoid putting hot or warm food straight into the fridge
  • Defrost your fridge regularly to keep it running efficiently
  • Choose the right size pan and keep lids on when cooking;
    • With electric hobs the base should just cover an electric cooking ring
    • With gas the flames only need heat the bottom of the pan, if they lick up the side then you’re wasting heat
  • Heat only the amount of water you need in the kettle, making sure you cover the element
  • Avoid leaving appliances such as TVs on standby and other appliances, such as mobile phones, on charge unnecessarily
  • Always wash a full load in your washing machine, at 30°C, or use a half-load or economy setting
  • Hang your washing on a line or dryer instead of using a tumble dryer
  • Set the cylinder thermostat at 60°C (140°F) which is fine for bathing and washing
  • Turning the thermostat down by 1°C could cut your heating bills by up to 10%
  • Close your curtains at dusk and fit draught-proofing to seal any gaps around windows and doors
  • Electric storage heaters work best with an Economy 7 electricity tariff as these work by storing heat during off-peak periods when electricity is cheaper, and releasing it into the room the following day and evening. You might have to adjust the input control to anticipate the following day’s weather, although some storage heaters have their own thermostats which do the job for you. Find out more with Storage heaters explained by Which?

Improving the energy efficiency of your home

If your home has cavity walls, they can be insulated to reduce heat loss. Also, make sure you have at least 10 inches (270mm) of loft insulation

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If your boiler is 15 years old or more, replacing it with a new and efficient boiler can save you around a third on heating bills

If you claim certain benefits and own or privately rent your home, you might be able to get help for energy-saving improvements such as insulation and a new boiler

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Choose electrical appliances that are energy efficient and therefore will be cheaper to run. The Energy Label can help you to choose the most efficient appliances

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Smart meters can help you monitor and manage your energy use;

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If you are over 65 or have a health problem

  • Heat your home to at least 18°C to keep warm
  • Make sure that you have some warm slippers or shoes that have a good grip
  • Try to keep your feet up as the air is cooler at ground level
  • Put on several warm, light layers of clothing which will keep you warmer than one thick layer
  • Have hot drinks, use a hot water bottle and if you're sitting down, put a blanket over you
  • Keep moving – avoid sitting down for long periods as muscles become stiff and slow when they are cold, even housework will generate body heat and help to keep you warm

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Extra help with your energy supply

If you are a pensioner, have long-term ill health, are registered disabled or have a hearing or visual impairment, you may be eligible for extra help from energy suppliers with the Priority Services Register

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You could get £140 off your electricity bill for winter with the Warm Home Discount Scheme

If you were born on or before 5 April 1954 you could get between £100 and £300 to help pay for your heating bills with a Winter Fuel Payment

The British Gas Energy Trust helps families and individuals living in need, hardship or other distress who are struggling with their gas and / or electricity debts by awarding grants to clear those debts

Fuel poverty

People rarely identify themselves as suffering from fuel poverty, common signs are:

  • I can’t pay my electricity/fuel bill
  • I’m about to be disconnected
  • I can’t afford to heat my home
  • My house is cold
  • My house is damp
  • I’m always ill
  • The causes of fuel poverty are inadequate thermal insulation, inefficient and uneconomic heating systems, low household income, and high fuel prices. The consequence is that millions of households cannot afford sufficient warmth for health and comfort
  • There are several links on this page to guides and information that can help people ensure they are keeping warm in their own home

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Generate your own energy

Have you considered generating your own energy to reduce your energy bills and generate some income?

Renewable energy

It may be possible to generate a significant proportion of your home's heat or electricity requirements from renewable technologies, reducing both the amount of CO2 your household produces and your energy bills.

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The Domestic Renewable Heat Incentive (Domestic RHI) is a government financial incentive to promote the use of renewable heat. People who join the scheme and stick to its rules receive quarterly payments for seven years for the amount of clean, green renewable heat it’s estimated their system produces

The Smart Export Guarantee (SEG) is a support mechanism designed to ensure small-scale generators are paid for the renewable electricity they export to the grid. You may be eligible to apply if you have one of the following renewable energy generating technologies;

  • Solar PV Panels
  • A wind turbine
  • Hydro
  • Anaerobic digestion (AD)
  • Micro combined heat and power (micro-CHP)

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Water conservation

Around 25% of your energy bill is from heating the water in your home you use during showering, washing clothes and dishwashing, so by using water more efficiently and cutting out waste and unnecessary use, you can save money and conserve water.

Quick water conservation wins at home

  • Turn off the tap while brushing your teeth and use a bowl for washing vegetables and dishes, a running tap can waste over 6 litres a minute
  • Fix dripping taps, they could be wasting up to 90 litres of water a week
  • Take a shower instead of a bath, but remember a power shower can use twice as much water as a bath
  • Set a timer on your phone to keep your showers short, every minute can use up to 17 litres of water
  • Install a toilet cistern displacement device to reduce the amount of water used every flush, a quarter of all our clean, drinkable water at home is flushed down the toilet
  • Wait until you have a full load before doing your washing or using the dishwasher, or use the half-load button on your machine
  • If you need to purchase a new water using appliance, check to see how water efficient it is and get the most efficient model you can afford
  • Use a bucket and sponge to clean your car instead of a hosepipe
  • Collect rainwater from your home, garage, greenhouse or shed in water butts and buckets, and then re-use it in the garden. The average rooftop collects 85,000 litres of water every year. Find water butt kits at subsidised prices at getcomposting.com
  • Regularly submit your water meter readings to the Anglian Water app to easily monitor your water use

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Improving the water efficiency of your home

  • Water butts can be used to collect rainwater in order to water plants and even wash a car, conserving water and saving you money. Plants prefer rainwater to tap water, and water butts are the perfect way to collect it
  • To help residents we offer water butt kits at subsidised prices. The kit includes a stand which enables you to fit a watering can under the tap, a child safe lid, and a rain-saver diverter kit to attach the water butt to your downpipe. Easy-to-follow fitting instructions are also supplied. To order a water butt, call: 0844 571 4444 or order online at getcomposting.com
  • Rainwater harvesting can provide water for many household uses such as flushing toilets and filling your washing machine, although not yet for drinking or cooking

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