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Energy Saving Week 2023

Tuesday 17th January marked the first day of Energy Saving Week 2023. Let’s talk about how to save money during the rising cost of living, and any support you may be eligible for. Why save energy? We all want to save money where we can, and small actions can help us to reduce the annual bill. … Continued

Tuesday 17th January marked the first day of Energy Saving Week 2023. Let’s talk about how to save money during the rising cost of living, and any support you may be eligible for.

Why save energy?

We all want to save money where we can, and small actions can help us to reduce the annual bill. But these behaviour changes also make a difference to our environment and helpo combat climate change. We can all work together to make changes in the house, that won’t just benefit us but will help everyone.

Keeping warm

During the cold months, you may be tempted to turn your heating all the way up but worried about the cost of your energy bills. Here are some simple steps to help you keep your warmth up, and bills down.

  • Turning your thermostat down by one degree could cut your bill by 10%.
  • Programme your hot water and heater to come on only when you need it, not all the time.
  • Keep your water warm by insulating your hot water pipes.
  • Put reflective foil behind radiators on outside walls.
Lights and home appliances

The easiest way to save some money on your energy bill is to simply switch off any lights when you are leaving a room. By keeping lights off in rooms that are not being used, you can save up to £25 a year.

You can switch your standard light bulbs to an LED lightbulb, these use a quarter of the energy and can last ten times longer.

 

There are many more cheap and easy energy and water saving tips here.  Through Switched On Gosport, you may also be eligible to receive larger energy efficiency measures such as insulation or solar panels completely free. Find out more here or call the freephone advice line on 0800 804 8601 to learn more.

New guide to finding cost of living support in Gosport

Local people can find help with the cost of living in a new guide produced by Gosport Borough Council. They can find the guide online, or pick up a free booklet from local outlets. The information covers council services, local groups and other organisations that can provide support, advice and help, including with food and heating. … Continued

Local people can find help with the cost of living in a new guide produced by Gosport Borough Council.

They can find the guide online, or pick up a free booklet from local outlets.

The information covers council services, local groups and other organisations that can provide support, advice and help, including with food and heating.

Other topics include clothes and other essentials; debts; scams; benefits; health and wellbeing, and free and low-cost activities. There are also details of how to help others.

The online details will be updated regularly and anyone with information they feel should be added can email us.

The 12-page booklet contains the main points from the online guide. It can be downloaded in colour or (to save printing costs) in black and white.

Printed copies are available from today at the Town Hall in Gosport High Street, the Discovery Centre in Gosport High Street, Citizens Advice Gosport in Pavilion Way, Elson Community Library and Hub in Chantry Road, Lee Hub in Lee-on-the-Solent High Street, Gosport Voluntary Action in Pavilion Way and FirstLight Trust in Gosport High Street.

Cllr Peter Chegwyn, Leader of the Council, said: “We know this is a very tough time for many local people, and this is one way we can help – by making sure residents know what support is available and how to get it. It can be difficult to find out what help is out there, but we’ve brought together lots of useful, practical information, including phone numbers, web links and email addresses. I’m sure this will make a difference to a lot of people looking for support, as well as to local groups who need the information at their fingertips.”

Elderly lady warming hands by fire
Fuel Poverty Awareness Day

Friday 2nd December marks Fuel Poverty Awareness Day. Fuel poverty can occur when a household has a low income and is unable to heat their house and with the current cost of living crisis, many households may struggle this year. Cold winters and lack of sufficient heating can lead to severe health issues in elderly and … Continued

Friday 2nd December marks Fuel Poverty Awareness Day.

Fuel poverty can occur when a household has a low income and is unable to heat their house and with the current cost of living crisis, many households may struggle this year.

Cold winters and lack of sufficient heating can lead to severe health issues in elderly and vulnerable. This can include increased risk of heart attacks, strokes, asthma and respiratory diseases and increased hospital admissions.

Illness can also affect families and children. This may result in children missing days of school, or parents unable to work as much.

Switched On Gosport offers numerous schemes and offers to help households in Gosport heat and energise your homes. Schemes available include:

These schemes are available to a wide range of households and thousands of Gosport residents are eligible to benefit. Find out more by clicking on the links above, or call our freephone advice line on 0800 804 8601.

There is also Government support available to help with the recent sharp increases in fuel bills. Learn more about the energy price guarantee, cost of living payments and other Government schemes here.

Gosport Borough Council has produced a leaflet with information about local services that can provide more general cost of living support. You can read the online version, or printed copies are available at the Town Hall in Gosport High Street, the Discovery Centre in Gosport High Street, Citizens Advice Gosport in Pavilion Way, Elson Community Library and Hub in Chantry Road, Lee Hub in Lee-on-the-Solent High Street, Gosport Voluntary Action in Pavilion Way and FirstLight Trust in Gosport High Street.

Are you missing out on your £400 Energy Bill Support?

Important information for energy customers with pre-payment meter Every household with an electricity bill is eligible for a £400 non-repayable discount to help with the cost of energy this winter. The discount is automatic.  If you get a message asking for your bank details, this could be a scam. The discount will be applied to … Continued

Important information for energy customers with pre-payment meter

Every household with an electricity bill is eligible for a £400 non-repayable discount to help with the cost of energy this winter.

The discount is automatic.  If you get a message asking for your bank details, this could be a scam.

The discount will be applied to your monthly household electricity bill for 6 months starting in October 2022. You’ll get:

  • £66 in October and November
  • £67 in December, January, February and March

If you pay by direct debit, or monthly or quarterly bills, the discount will be applied to your bill, or paid to you by direct debit.

If you have a traditional pre-payment meter, you will be sent your discount as a voucher in the first week of each month.  Most customers will receive their voucher by post, but it could also be sent by text or email.

You should redeem your voucher at your usual top-up point, which will be either a shop with PayPoint or a Post Office branch.  The vouchers are only valid for 90 days, so it is important to use them as soon as possible to ensure you don’t miss out.

If you have a smart prepayment meter (you top up via an app), your discount will be credited directly to your meter in the first week of each month.

For support on your energy bills contact our freephone number on 0800 804 8601.

Cost of Living Payments – what they are and when you will receive them

The current cost of living crisis is affecting people all over the country with energy bills rising and inflation increasing the cost of the things we all buy. A pack of measures aimed to support the increase in living costs was announced in May by the Chancellor: £650 one off cost-of-living payment Targeted at the … Continued

The current cost of living crisis is affecting people all over the country with energy bills rising and inflation increasing the cost of the things we all buy.

A pack of measures aimed to support the increase in living costs was announced in May by the Chancellor:

money

£650 one off cost-of-living payment

Targeted at the most vulnerable households in the UK, millions will have already received the first payment of £326 in July to their bank accounts.

The second payment of £324 will arrive in the autumn for most people (no exact date set yet)

To be eligible for the payment you have to be in receipt of a means-tested benefit, such as the below –

  • Universal Credit
  • Income-based jobseeker’s allowance (JCA)
  • Income-related employment and support allowance (ESA)
  • Income support
  • Working tax credit
  • Child tax credit
  • Pension credit

To get the payment you must have either been:

  • Entitled to a universal credit payment for an assessment period that ended in the period 26 April 2022 to 25 May 2022
  • Entitled to an income-based JAS, income-related ESA, income support or pension credit payment for any day in the period 26 April 2022 to 25 May 2022

The grant payment is tax-free for all eligible groups, will not affect the benefit cap and will not effect any existing benefit awards.

If you are eligible under tax credits, you will not receive the first payment until Autumn 2022, with the second payment to arrive in Winter.

If you’ve not yet received the first payment and you believe you are eligible, you can report missing payments via this Government website. You will need your national insurance number.

money£300 Pensioner Payment

Pensioners who already qualify for a Winter Fuel Payment will receive an extra £300 alongside this payment from November 22 onwards. This is in addition to any of the other cost of living payments.

The amounts of winter fuel payments received depends on household circumstances. Find out more here. 

money

Disability Cost of Living Payment

6 million people who receive disability benefits will get a one-off cost of living payment of £150 by the end of September. It will be given to those on the following benefits:

  • Attendance allowance
  • Constant attendance allowance
  • Disability living allowance for adults and children
  • Personal independent payment
  • Armed forces independence payment
  • War pension mobility supplement

You must have received a payment of one of these qualifying benefits for May 25 to get the payment. Those who receive the means tested benefits will receive the £150 on top of the £650 cost of living payment.

money

£400 energy bill discount

Every single household with a domestic energy supplier account in England, Scotland and Wales will receive £400 in energy bill discounts. This will be issued to households in six instalments over a period of 6 months over the winter period from October 2022.

This payment is non-repayable and does not require any applications as it will be made automatically.

money

Still concerned about the cost of your energy bills?

We can help. Switched On Gosport offer a range of free services to help you to save energy and money in your home. Give us a call on 0800 804 8601 to find out what you could be eligible for.

Switched On Solar to help residents install solar panels on homes

Switched On Solar Service to Help Gosport Residents Install Solar Panels Gosport Borough Council has launched Switched On Solar, an innovative service that allows you to see your own home’s ‘solar panel potential’. The new service provides Gosport residents with a bespoke ‘solar panel potential’ report for their home. As well as this, a dedicated … Continued

Switched On Solar Service to Help Gosport Residents Install Solar Panels

Gosport Borough Council has launched Switched On Solar, an innovative service that allows you to see your own home’s ‘solar panel potential’.

The new service provides Gosport residents with a bespoke ‘solar panel potential’ report for their home. As well as this, a dedicated team will provide ongoing support along with a list of approved installers who can install solar panel systems on Gosport homes. The service can be used by all Gosport residents at no cost to them.

One of the key elements of Switched On Solar is an innovative online tool. Using their home’s postcode, residents can see detailed analysis of their home’s potential to accommodate solar panels. An automatically generated report will provide key information including:

  • estimated energy, money and carbon savings associated with a solar panel system
  • a diagram of the optimal positioning of solar panels on your home’s roof
  • a rating out of 5 for a home’s solar potential based on a number of things; roof orientation, over-shading, area and monthly electricity consumption
  • an estimated cost of panel installation and pay-back period

After using the tool, residents can arrange a call with a member of the Switched On Solar team. A staff member will be able to go through a home’s solar panel analysis in greater detail and provide a copy of the report. The team can also provide residents with a list of local Approved Installers who can quote to install solar panels on their home.

Solar photovoltaics (PV) has been identified as a key technology for hitting the council’s ambitious net zero carbon target by 2050. Switched On Solar will encourage uptake of this method of clean electricity generation in the city. It has been estimated that only around 3% of Gosports domestic roofs currently host solar panels, so the opportunity to rollout PV further is huge.

Solar is just one of a number of energy and carbon saving technologies promoted by the Switched On Gosport service. They have recently announced funding for free solid wall insulation and offer a number of other services that Gosport residents can access for free to make energy savings in their homes.

To assess the potential of your roof to accommodate solar, or speak to one of the Switched On team, please visit: Switched On Solar.

10 tips to save money & stay warm this winter

Check if you’re eligible for a free home energy visit! You could get: free LED lightbulbs, radiator reflectors, referrals to an income maximisation service to boost your income, referrals to grant-funded larger measures like insulation & more during a free energy visit. Check if you’re eligible for the Warm Home Discount Scheme (£140 off your winter … Continued

  1. Check if you’re eligible for a free home energy visit! You could get: free LED lightbulbs, radiator reflectors, referrals to an income maximisation service to boost your income, referrals to grant-funded larger measures like insulation & more during a free energy visit.
  2. Check if you’re eligible for the Warm Home Discount Scheme (£140 off your winter electricity (or potentially gas) bill – read here for more.
  3. Insulate, insulate, insulate! Cavity Wall insulation is estimated to save you £95/year¹ on your energy bill for a mid-terraced house. There is government funding for insulation, and you don’t necessarily need to be on a benefit to be eligible for funding. Contact our advice line for more information (023 9284 1947).
  4. Check if you could sign up to your energy company’s priority services register: this can give you advanced notice of planned power cuts, support taking meter reading if you are unable to and much more here.
  5. Check if you could save more on your water bills with Portsmouth Water & Southern Water.
  6. Check if you can increase your income. Our free home energy visits provides referrals in an income maximisation service or there are also helpful guides here.
  7. Set efficient heating settings – consider setting your thermostat and programmers for a comfortable but cost-effective programme. Between 18 and 21 degrees is recommended to be an efficient but comfortable range².
  8. Get a smart meter for a more accurate and real-time dashboard of your energy spend. This can send real-time reading to your supplier meaning accurate billing.
  9. Submit regular meter readings to your energy supplier so that they can bill you accurately.
  10. Read more of our advice on saving energy at home here

Switched On Gosport energy advice line is open Mon – Fri 9am to 5pm

023 9284 1947

Person being helped to budget for their energy costs
Rise in energy costs

You may have seen the news that energy bills are expected to rise for up to 15 million households this winter. We’re here to provide some support on this. What is happening? There is something called a price cap for standard variable tariffs (sometimes called a default tariff) and prepayment tariffs, which limit the rates … Continued

You may have seen the news that energy bills are expected to rise for up to 15 million households this winter. We’re here to provide some support on this.

What is happening?

There is something called a price cap for standard variable tariffs (sometimes called a default tariff) and prepayment tariffs, which limit the rates a supplier can charge for these tariffs. This cap can be raised if there’s a rise in wholesale costs, which is what is happening here. It will rise by £139 for customers on default tariffs paying by direct debit and by £153 for pre-payment customers from 1st October 2021 and will affect an estimated 15 million UK households.

Why is this happening?

The rise is due to a 50% rise in wholesale energy costs, i.e. the amount suppliers have to pay to buy the energy. There’s also a rise in the wholesale cost of petrol and diesel too.

How will this affect you?

  • If you are on a fixed rate tariff it should not affect you until the end of your current contract.
  • If you are on a standard variable tariff or on a pre-payment meter you could see an increase in your energy bill, even if you’re only using the same amount of energy as you always have.
  • How do you check what type of tariff you are on? It should say on your bill or online account. If it’s fixed rate it often says 1yr or 2yr. Check to see if the price cap will affect you here.

What help is available?

  1. Check if you can apply for the warm home discount. This could save you £140 off your winter 2021/22 energy bill.
  2. Check if you could be saving money by switching energy tariffs.
  3. Call us if you’re worried about energy bills and we can provide further advice to help you (023 9284 1947)
  4. Check if you could benefit from free home energy visit this winter.

Thanks for reading,

Switched On Team

 

Read more of our advice on discounts here.

Energy Efficiency Labelling Changes

Why do the labels exist?  To help consumers choose energy efficiency products to reduce carbon & improve manufacturer to consumer transparency What products have the labels? Refrigerators, freezers and fridge-freezers, Washing machines, Electric tumble dryers, Combined washer-dryers, Dishwashers, Lamps (light bulbs), Electric ovens, Air conditioners, Televisions (from the end of 2012) What was it previously? … Continued

Why do the labels exist? 

To help consumers choose energy efficiency products to reduce carbon & improve manufacturer to consumer transparency

What products have the labels?

Refrigerators, freezers and fridge-freezers, Washing machines, Electric tumble dryers, Combined washer-dryers, Dishwashers, Lamps (light bulbs), Electric ovens, Air conditioners, Televisions (from the end of 2012)

What was it previously?

Previous scale was A+++, A++, A+, A, B, C & D.

Why is it changing?

The +’s became confusing and to make way for ever improving energy efficiency

What is it now?

Now it’s A, B, C, D, E, F & G

When is this happening?:

  • fridges and freezers  (1st march 2021)
  • dishwashers (1st march 2021)
  • washing machines (1st march 2021)
  • televisions (1st march 2021)
  • lamps (1st Sep 2021)

What’s the significance?:

This means an energy-efficient fridge with an A+++ rating could move to class B, C, or even lower – but without actually being any less efficient

What about the EU?

The energy efficiently labelling requirement originally stemmed from an EU directive. The UK is continuing the requirement post-Brexit. Products will now have a UK label and EU label.

Where will I see this?

Manufacturers are required to display it on the product. You will also see in the specifications when looking at a product online.

Want to know more? 

You can read the energy Label UK info here.

 

If you would like further energy support you can contact Switched On Gosport on 02392 841 947 for free advice.
Low Carbon Homes Solent Event

Low Carbon Homes Solent Switched On Gosport are excited to share an upcoming event hosted by Low Carbon Homes: Date: 16-18 March Time: 08:30 – 12:00 Cost: Free Register by 4pm, Monday 15 March: http://bit.ly/SolentRetrofitREG  Description: The free-to-attend, online Low Carbon Homes Solent retrofit conference, 16-18 March, enable professionals to explore the actions needed to improve the efficiency of Solent’s existing housing stock … Continued

Low Carbon Homes Solent

Switched On Gosport are excited to share an upcoming event hosted by Low Carbon Homes:

Date: 16-18 March

Time: 08:30 – 12:00

Cost: Free

Register by 4pm, Monday 15 March: http://bit.ly/SolentRetrofitREG 

Description: The free-to-attend, online Low Carbon Homes Solent retrofit conference, 16-18 March, enable professionals to explore the actions needed to improve the efficiency of Solent’s existing housing stock and reduce carbon emissions. Hear expert talks, meet the local community to discuss best-practice, attend meetings and join live Q&As to meet the Solent’s low carbon ambition.

 

 

Air Source Heat Pumps – What’s All The Noise About?

Guest Blog by Will Rossiter – Mitsubishi Electric Air Source Heat Pumps I’m sure you’ve no doubt heard or read things lately that have mentioned air source heat pumps and it’s got you asking – what is an air source heat pump? I’ve written this article to explain what one is, how it works and … Continued

Guest Blog by Will Rossiter – Mitsubishi Electric

Air Source Heat Pumps

I’m sure you’ve no doubt heard or read things lately that have mentioned air source heat pumps and it’s got you asking – what is an air source heat pump? I’ve written this article to explain what one is, how it works and the benefits of installing one.

At first glance heat pumps might seem like a futuristic technology with complicated mechanics behind it. Well, this couldn’t be further from the case, in fact, heat pump technology has been around for over 50 years. The simplest way to describe how one works is to use the fridge analogy. Your fridge removes heat energy from the food you place inside it and by a process call the vapour compression cycle, this heat is then expelled out the back of the fridge, the process is very efficient and can be put to good use.

In a heat pump energy is taken out of the ambient air and using the same process as a fridge but in reverse. This low grade heat energy is harnessed, upgraded and transferred to your heating system.  The transfer takes place using a plate heat exchanger which passes the heat energy into the hot water circuit that circulates inside the property.

Frequently Asked Questions

Now there are a few frequently asked questions that I’d like to address which will hopefully put your mind and ease and drive your interest further. The first is how much sound do our air source heat pumps produce? At Mitsubishi we have used years of experience in the industry to develop our award winning range the Ultra Quiet Ecodan. The sound level generated is the same as the background noise you would hear in a library, so I think you’ll agree that’s pretty quiet!

Another question is will it work when it is really cold? Our units circulate a refrigerant that boils at -51oC which means that even on the coldest days our heat pumps will be able to extract heat from the air and upgrade it to heat your home. To give even more evidence and emphasize this point, heat pumps are the most common heating technology in Scandinavia…

Lastly, what is the benefit of an air source heat pump? There are two main benefits to heat pumps, firstly reducing your annual heating bills and secondly reducing your carbon footprint. Its estimated that replacing a gas boiler with a heat pump will save 850kg per year with a saving of 12,750kg over the life span of the unit. If you are replacing an electric heating, oil or LPG, and you used the systems as they are intended, then you would see a noticeable reduction in your annual heating bills. The difference between gas and a heat pump is much smaller and in most instances the costs are very similar, if not a little cheaper to use a heat pump. A point worth noting though is that you are future proofing your home as well, so you will reap the benefits of a heat pump over the coming years.

Heat of the future

Don’t just take it from me that heat pumps are the future of heating our homes, the technology has the backing of our brand ambassador George Clarke who says – “the way we design, build, heat, power and recycle our homes needs to change, and change quickly, and renewable heating is an important part of our future. I’m therefore delighted to associate myself with Ecodan, the market leading brand of heat pumps built here in the UK and which can reduce energy bills and lower emissions for almost any home”

For more information, please get in touch with the team at Switched On Gosport for more information and guidance on how to get started.

By Will Rossiter

Mitsubishi Electric UK

You can apply to receive a FREE air source heat pump system here
Is my roof suitable for solar panels?

Guest Blog from Space Renewable Energy – one of Switched On Portsmouth’s solar PV Approved Installers. Solar Panels can be installed on almost any type of pitched and flat roofs facing south, or somewhere between south east and south west. For a flat roof installation, a specialised mounting system is secured to the roof using … Continued

Guest Blog from Space Renewable Energy – one of Switched On Portsmouth’s solar PV Approved Installers.
Solar Panels can be installed on almost any type of pitched and flat roofs facing south, or somewhere between south east and south west.

For a flat roof installation, a specialised mounting system is secured to the roof using ballast. A solar installation can also be installed on garage or outhouse roofs providing they are structurally sound.

Types of roof

Tile: Tile roofing is common roof type that can be found in almost every city. Tiles themselves can be made of different materials so it is important to determine what material your tile is made from before proceeding, e.g. installing a solar panel on a clay/slate tile may be more expensive than installing on to a concrete tile.

Flat roof: For homes that have a flat roof it is very likely that they will be of felt/gravel roof type. A flat roof installation may require additional mounting that can be tilted to a desired angle and needs to be secured to the roof with ballast. This is simple to do but more expensive than installing on to a pitched roof. Nevertheless, it is still a viable roof type for installing solar panels.

Ground mount: For roofs that are not suitable for solar panels, if you have spare ground within your garden then a ground mounted solar panel system would be for you. The panels are mounted  on A-frames and can be secured with ballast or foundation supports.

Steve Jackson

Space Renewable Energy Ltd

 

Space Renewable Energy Ltd are one of our Switched On Gosport Approved Installers. For more information please visit our Approved Installer page here.

Discover your home’s solar potential for free here.

Energy technologies working together in perfect harmony

Guest Blog from Infinity Energy Services – one of Switched On Portsmouth’s solar PV Approved Installers. We all want to get our energy bills down and reduce our carbon footprint, but which are the right technologies to invest in today and how do they all work together? In this short guide, we cover three key … Continued

Guest Blog from Infinity Energy Services – one of Switched On Portsmouth’s solar PV Approved Installers.
We all want to get our energy bills down and reduce our carbon footprint, but which are the right technologies to invest in today and how do they all work together? In this short guide, we cover three key energy solutions and how to get the best out of them.
Solar Panels

Solar photovoltaic panels, or solar PV for short, generate electricity from the sun. Once a solar PV system has been installed on your roof, the electricity the panels produce is zero-cost. This is because sunshine is free!

Apart from wind turbines (not always practical on a house or apartment block), solar PV panels are the only way that households can generate their own electricity. There are several ways of saving energy, for example with proper insulation, but only solar PV panels will provide your home with free electricity.

A solar PV system is not like getting a boiler that requires regular servicing. PV systems require little or no maintenance, and have a typical life-span of 25+ years. The only component that is likely to fail is the ‘solar inverter’. It’s advisable to get as long a warranty on the inverter as possible.

Solar panels will only generate electricity during the day while the sun is shining. They do work on cloudy days, but the output is much lower. So, the main drawback to a solar PV system is the fact that your supply of free solar energy stops completely once it gets dark.

What’s the solution to this problem?

Battery Storage

Battery storage allows you to do two things:

  1. Capture surplus solar electricity to use in the evenings and at night, and
  2. Store cheap, off-peak electricity from the grid at night to use during the day when electricity rates are higher.

Battery storage is therefore a perfect companion for solar panels. You rarely use all your solar electricity at the exact moment it is generated, and battery storage will automatically mop up the excess.

In the evening, perhaps when you have the cooker on and need a lot of electricity, the battery will then discharge the stored solar energy to help power your cooker. This discharged solar electricity is free of charge.

In the winter, and depending on how big your battery is, there might not be enough surplus solar electricity to charge your battery fully. In this scenario, you can top up your battery with low-cost, off-peak electricity from the grid.

To do this, you need to be signed up with an energy supplier that can offer a dual rate electricity tariff, similar to the old Economy 7. You will then have a low Night rate for a certain number of hours, and a higher Day rate for the remaining hours.

You can program your battery storage to charge during that cheap, night time slot. Then, during the day, the battery will discharge the low-cost, stored electricity, allowing you to avoid paying higher day time rates until the battery energy runs out.

Electric Vehicles & Charging Points

Another big topic in energy at the moment is the electrification of transport. To help the environment, traditional petrol/diesel powered vehicles are gradually being replaced with electric cars, vans, trains, etc.

With the government’s recent ban on petrol and diesel cars in 2030, all of us will sooner or later be getting an electric vehicle or EV. Once you drive an EV, you will need to charge its battery with electricity. While there is an ever growing public charger network, the easiest and cheapest place to charge your car is at home.

Once you have an EV charger installed, you need to work out the best time to charge your vehicle. If you have a solar PV system, and the sun is shining, you can charge your car with free solar electricity. That would theoretically reduce your car’s fuel bill to zero!

However, in practice, a solar panel system cannot provide all the energy your EV needs. Another way is via battery storage. If you come home after work and plug your car in say at 5:30pm, if your home battery storage has electricity in it, the battery can discharge electricity into your car.

That still might not be enough to charge your car’s battery fully. So the third option is to charge your EV at night during the hours when your off-peak Night rate apples. You don’t have to get up in the middle of the night to plug your vehicle in: you can either program the car, or the charging point itself, to come on during those cheap night rate hours.

Charging an EV with (free) solar energy and (low-cost) electricity from the grid can put a huge dent in your monthly fuel bills. If you currently pay say £1,000 a year on petrol or diesel, that figure could be as low as £150-200 a year with an electric car powered by a combination of solar and off-peak grid energy.

Summary

To keep energy costs down – and to do as much as we can to reduce global warming and hold environmental harms in check – there are two main approaches for UK residents:

  1. Minimise your need for energy in the first place, and
  2. Generate your own energy from renewable sources.

You can cover off both these points by driving an electric vehicle, charging it at home, and allowing your solar PV and battery storage to (partly) power both your home and car.

It’s not a fully comprehensive set-up. There are other steps you should take as well, such as insulation, moving off gas, investing in highly efficient fridges, cookers, lighting, etc.

Nonetheless, with solar PV, battery storage and electric driving all working together harmoniously, you will sleep better knowing your energy bills and carbon footprint are as low as they can be.

 

David Lewis

Infinity Energy Services

 

Infinity Energy Services are one of our Switched On Gosport Approved Installers. For more information please visit our Approved Installer page here.

Discover your home’s solar potential for free here.

School picture
10 ways to save energy if your kids are off school

10 Top tips! Make sure your home school area has optimal natural lighting to reduce need for artificial lighting. Make you have energy efficient lighting – switching from a halogen bulb to an LED can save you up to £3 per year per bulb switch. Move around – any learning that can incorporate movement might … Continued

10 Top tips!
  1. Make sure your home school area has optimal natural lighting to reduce need for artificial lighting.
  2. Make you have energy efficient lighting – switching from a halogen bulb to an LED can save you up to £3 per year per bulb switch.
  3. Move around – any learning that can incorporate movement might not only keep you warmer but can be found to improve learning.
  4. Encourage learning that is book or activity based rather than electronic where you can.
  5. Limit screen time and make sure all their electronics are turned off at night.
  6. Make a meal and lesson plan to try batch cooking to use less energy and plan lessons which are low-energy use.
  7. If you don’t already have a smart meter – ask your energy supplier for one which can help you monitor energy use and identify high energy activities.
  8. Teach kids about energy and water saving and you can even make it into a bingo game. Try make a list of energy saving activities like ‘turned the tap off while brushing teeth’ and ‘turned the light off in an unused room’ and see who can get energy bingo first.
  9. Check if you’re eligible for a free energy and money saving appointment here. This includes support to help maximise your income such as a referral to the income maximisation service which can help identify if you’re missing out in any benefits you’re eligible for. You can get further money support here.
  10. Try get out for a walk or something once a day if you can, time away from electronics can help save a bit of money.
Further support

Call Switched On Gosport on 0800 260 5907, Mon – Fri 9am to 5pm for further support.

If you’re also working from home read our working from home energy saving tips here.

If you’re struggling with mental health there is also lots of free support services in Gosport here.

desk picture
10 ways to save energy while working from home

10 ways to save energy while working from home If you would normally walk around in the office try get out for a walk before work, at lunch or after work to keep your body temperature up throughout the day. Optimise natural light – make sure your work space/home office is getting the best natural … Continued

10 ways to save energy while working from home

  1. If you would normally walk around in the office try get out for a walk before work, at lunch or after work to keep your body temperature up throughout the day.
  2. Optimise natural light – make sure your work space/home office is getting the best natural light possible.
  3. Make sure you have energy efficient lighting.
  4. Try keeping you hot drinks in a travel mug with a lid (it keeps them warmer for longer).
  5. Ask your energy supplier for a smart meter if you don’t already have one. It will help you keep track of high energy activities.
  6. Try batch cooking and meal prepping to keep energy requirements down and it also saves time on your lunch break.
  7. Need to charge your work phone? Charge it before bed and make sure you don’t leave it on to charge overnight.
  8. Make sure your laptop/desktop if off at night (not just on standby).
  9. See if you could save money by switching tariffs or supplier here.
  10. See if you are eligible for free energy and money saving phone appointment here.

 

Call Switched On Gosport on 0800 260 5907, Mon – Fri 9am to 5pm for further support.

5 Cold Weather Tips

  5 Cold Weather Tips Keep up to date with weather warnings via the met office so you can prepare for colder spells. Prepare for colder spells by gathering supplies in advance, including any fuel credit or medical prescriptions you may need. Look out for vulnerable neighbours – although this is trickier in the pandemic … Continued

 

5 Cold Weather Tips

  1. Keep up to date with weather warnings via the met office so you can prepare for colder spells.
  2. Prepare for colder spells by gathering supplies in advance, including any fuel credit or medical prescriptions you may need.
  3. Look out for vulnerable neighbours – although this is trickier in the pandemic you could ring your neighbours to make sure they are provided for.
  4. Heat your home to a minimum of 18°C and if you’re worried about high energy bills visit our energy savings advice or give us a call on 0800 260 5907. (Open Mon – Fri 9am to 5pm)
  5. Check if you are eligible for Warm Home Discount, Cold Weather Payments, the Priority Services Register , Green Homes Grant or the flu vaccine.

You can also read:

New Year’s Energy Resolutions

10 New Year’s Energy Resolutions Turn off the tap when brushing your teeth, shaving or washing your face. Charge your phone before bed & make sure electronics are off not just on stand-by. Put lids on your pans when cooking as this makes your food cook faster & saves energy! Mark a one month reminder … Continued

10 New Year’s Energy Resolutions

  1. Turn off the tap when brushing your teeth, shaving or washing your face.
  2. Charge your phone before bed & make sure electronics are off not just on stand-by.
  3. Put lids on your pans when cooking as this makes your food cook faster & saves energy!
  4. Mark a one month reminder on your calendar for when your energy tariffs expire to remind you to pick a new tariff.
  5. Only boil the water you need in your kettle.
  6. Have a shower instead of a bath.
  7. Air-dry your washing instead of using the tumble dryer.
  8. Set your washing machine to an ‘eco’ cycle or wash at 30 if it’s not dirty.
  9. Switch energy supplier.
  10. Ask your energy supplier for a smart meter – they’re free and help monitor your energy usage.

Happy New Year!

Cold Homes & Covid-19

Covid-19 has caused a huge economic impact on households, with unemployment rates increasing. More households are struggling with bills than usual, meaning many are likely to avoid heating their homes in order to stay afloat. It is expected that this will impact the ‘Excess Winter Deaths’ (EWD) rate for this winter, due to the illnesses … Continued

Covid-19 has caused a huge economic impact on households, with unemployment rates increasing. More households are struggling with bills than usual, meaning many are likely to avoid heating their homes in order to stay afloat. It is expected that this will impact the ‘Excess Winter Deaths’ (EWD) rate for this winter, due to the illnesses that are linked to living in a cold home.

EWDs are the difference between the average daily deaths in the winter months (December to March) compared to the rest of the year. Living in a cold home can cause and exacerbate respiratory illnesses, making sufferers of these illnesses more susceptible to Covid-19.

Switched On Gosport offer a wide range of free energy saving schemes to support households to stay warm and well in their homes. It is especially important that we reach as many homes as possible this winter to help reduce the EWD rate this year.

For perspective in December 2017 to March 2018 50,100 people died from EWD’s in England and Wales, this is only nine thousand less than the UK’s covid death rate which spans across the majority of 2020.

1) The EWD figures:

Winter Period

England & Wales EWD’s Gosport EWD’s High or lower?

Causes

2019 to 2020

28,300 Not published yet 19.6% higher than winter 2018 to 2019 Respiratory diseases continued to be the leading cause of excess winter deaths that occurred in 2019 to 2020. (Covid-19 deaths excluded from this number)
2018 to 2019 23,200 90 The excess winter mortality index in England in 2018 to 2019 was statistically significantly lower than the 2016 to 2017 and 2017 to 2018 winters Respiratory diseases continued to be the leading cause of excess winter deaths which occurred in 2018 to 2019.
2017 to 2018 50,100 180 The number of excess winter deaths in 2017 to 2018 was the highest recorded since winter 1975 to 1976

Over one-third (34.7%) of all excess winter deaths were caused by respiratory diseases.

‘Beast from the East’ period of extremely cold temperatures.

2) Causes of EWD’s

Top 3 ’causes of death’ on death certificates recorded are:

  • Respiratory conditions (chronic lower respiratory diseases & pneumonia most common)
  • Circulatory diseases
  • Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease

3) Why are cold temperatures dangerous?

  • Cold temperatures:
    • Raise your blood pressure and can put you at increased risk of a stroke or heart attack.
    • Increase risk of blood clots
    • Supresses your immune system making you more vulnerable to illnesses
    • Reducing your lungs effectiveness at fighting viruses
    • Can have negative impacts on your mental health putting you under strain and stress of fuel bills

4) COVID-19 & Cold homes

  • COVID-19 is a respiratory condition and living in a cold and/or damp home can cause respiratory problems
  • Living in a warm home improves your chances at fighting off viruses
  • Living in a warm home improves the recovery process from illnesses
  • More people will be struggling financially due to covid so more people will be struggling to afford to heat their home
  • Social isolation and medical health issues can be heighten with lockdown and cold homes

5) Why does all this matter?

  • The top two causes of EWD’s are directly related to living in a cold home and are preventable.
  • Why treat people and send them back to the conditions that made them sick?‘ We need to tackle the root causes of illnesses and prevent them manifesting rather than treating symptoms.
  • We need to reduce the pressure on medical resources so that in times of global crisis/pandemic resources are not as strained. Improving people’s homes also has many benefits to the individuals comfort, happiness and to the environment.
  • We need to emphasise the connection to warm homes and staying healthy.

6) What help is available to Gosport, Gosport & Havant residents (eligibility applies):

  • Free broken boiler replacement scheme for owner occupiers
  • Free First time gas central heating for those using expensive electric heating
  • Free home energy visit/appointment- free small energy savings measures, advice and referrals onto further support
  • A supply of temporary heating and winter warmth packs for people in emergency situations
  • And more! Please visit our website or contact us for more info.

This quote from an Independence Support Assistant at Gosport Carers Centre shows the difference one referral can make:

‘Over the years I’ve visited her house it was freezing in the winter and she’d go to bed very early as it was the only way to stay warm. Since the referral to LEAP they have installed draught excluders and energy saving bulbs, advised on reducing energy bills and how to switch over from a pre-paid to a standard meter. As a result of all this support her home is now much warmer and she is much happier as no longer stressed about the cost of heating the property. For the first time in years she can manage her energy costs, is no longer in debt and her health has been much better too’

7) What to take away

1) If you have a health condition:

Please be aware if you have a long-term health condition that cold temperatures can be a danger to your health.  Please use the support on offer to keep warm this winter.  If you suffer from an existing health condition you are eligible for our free energy support.

2) If you are a local service:

Let’s work together to keep households warm & healthy: we need to spread awareness of the support available to reduce respiratory and circulatory conditions to prevent excess winter deaths. These deaths are preventable if we take action.

3) If you work in public health:

If you want to discuss how our services can help each other then please get in touch at energysaving@portsmouthcc.gov.uk

Useful resources:

  • Public Health England: Cold weather and COVID-19 Guidance
  • National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE): ‘Excess winter deaths and illness and the health risks associated with cold homes’ Guidance
by Louise Hyde
Louise
Fuel Poverty Awareness Day 2020

Fuel Poverty Awareness Day Today (Friday 27th November) is Fuel Poverty Awareness Day. This is an annual event set up by charity National Energy Action (NEA) to raise awareness of the issue of fuel poverty and the wide range of support available. Fuel poverty is a nationwide issue, and affects 10.4% of all England homes. … Continued

Fuel Poverty Awareness Day

Today (Friday 27th November) is Fuel Poverty Awareness Day. This is an annual event set up by charity National Energy Action (NEA) to raise awareness of the issue of fuel poverty and the wide range of support available.

Fuel poverty is a nationwide issue, and affects 10.4% of all England homes. In Gosport, this rate is higher, at 10.8%. That’s around 10,000 homes that struggle to pay their energy bills. Some of these households might even have to make a choice between heating their home and feeding their families. 12,000 people die on average in the UK each year because of health conditions caused or worsened by living in a cold home.

This winter is going to be a hard one for everyone, but even more so for those living in fuel poverty. Covid-19 is combining with cold homes to accelerate and multiply these issues. These issues include:

  • Financial difficulties caused by Covid-19 will make it even more difficult for people to pay their energy bills, and so are more likely to get into debt.
  • Unemployment, working from home and lockdown means that people will be using more energy and could be spending more time in a cold home.
  • Usual coping strategies, such as spending time in warm public areas like libraries, cafes and the homes of loved ones, will not be possible.
  • People with respiratory and circulatory health conditions affected by cold weather are likely to be at a greater risk from Covid-19.
  • An increased strain on mental health due to anxiety and stress.

Cold homes are preventable. Switched On Gosport have a wide range of support available to help keep everyone in Gosport, Gosport and Havant safe and well in their home.

For free, impartial, advice give us a call on 0800 260 5907. Our friendly team of qualified advisors are here to help!

You can read about NEA’s campaign for Warm Safe Homes here.

 

By Anttonia Lindup
Anttonia
Coronavirus
Services UPDATE: UK November Lockdown

We still have a range of energy and money saving schemes running during lockdown this November. Some services will be running a revised service – more information below: Freephone Advice Line – 0800 260 5907 Phone still open Mon-Fri, 9am-5pm. Free emergency fuel top-up vouchers available Energy and Money Saving Service (in partnership with LEAP) … Continued

We still have a range of energy and money saving schemes running during lockdown this November. Some services will be running a revised service – more information below:

Freephone Advice Line – 0800 260 5907

  • Phone still open Mon-Fri, 9am-5pm.
  • Free emergency fuel top-up vouchers available

Energy and Money Saving Service (in partnership with LEAP)

  • Applications still open.
  • All appointments booked to be carried out over the phone
  • Free energy saving measures can be delivered to your door for you to install
  • No home visits can go ahead until the lockdown measures have been lifted.

Free Gas Central Heating (in partnership with Warmer Homes)

  • Applications still open.
  • Initial remote surveys and gas grid applications can still go ahead
  • Installations cannot go ahead until the lockdown measures have been lifted

Emergency Boiler Replacement (In Partnership with ECHOS)

  • No changes made to scheme as it classifies as essential, emergency works.
  • All installers and surveyors will wear appropriate PPE, and can work alone to reduce contact.

Switch Supplier

  • No changes made to scheme – online or telephone service only
How to use your storage heaters efficiently with Economy 7

Over four million households in the UK use an Economy 7 meter to try and cut their electricity bills. Your lifestyle and usage habits will have an effect on your electricity bills when you’re on an Economy 7 meter – during 7 hours of the night you will receive discounted rates, but during the day … Continued

Over four million households in the UK use an Economy 7 meter to try and cut their electricity bills.

Your lifestyle and usage habits will have an effect on your electricity bills when you’re on an Economy 7 meter – during 7 hours of the night you will receive discounted rates, but during the day you will be charged more than a standard fixed tariff would usually offer. To save money with Economy 7, it is suggested that you need to use more than 40% of your electricity during these cheaper 7 hours.

How do I know if I am on Economy 7?

You can check if you have an Economy 7 meter by looking at your bill – if you have two electricity readings, marked day and night or high and low, the chances are you’re on an Economy 7 meter. If you live in a property with storage heaters, you are most likely on Economy 7.

This way of billing was brought in to support electric storage heaters. Storage heaters charge up during the night and emit heat during the day. Economy 7 would not be recommended for electrically heated households without storage heaters or a hot water tank, or for households which mainly use electrical appliances during the day, such as a washing machine or a tumble dryer, as the day time rates are more expensive.

How do storage heaters work?

Storage heaters are wall-mounted, and look similar to a normal radiator, though they usually have feet at the bottom as they are a lot heavier. They work by charging up overnight and storing this energy as heat in a bank of clay or ceramic bricks. This heat will be dispelled over the following day. It’s best to imagine them as a rechargeable battery – they cannot be turned on to emit heat straight away – they must charge up. It’s important that you don’t set your storage heaters to charge during the daytime hours – this is a very expensive way to heat your home, and all of the heat will be put out at night when you don’t need it.

You can control the heat settings on your storage heaters using the ‘Input’ and ‘Output’ settings, which can usually be found as a dial. The input setting tells the heater how much heat to store during the night. The higher you set this, the more heat it will store, and the more electricity it will use. During the day, the heater will release heat constantly at low levels. You can control the amount of heat released through the output control – this setting controls heater vents which open and close, letting heat out faster or slower. Opening the vents fully will use the stored heat up faster.

What’s the best way to heat my home?

Storage heaters are not the most efficient way to heat your home. Unlike a rechargeable battery which will hold its charge until needed, storage heaters will lose heat almost immediately, especially as they get older. They can lose from 25-50% of their energy this way. You can buy storage heaters which hold this heat for longer, but this of course comes with a hefty price. When using storage heaters, it’s advised to ensure that your property is well insulated so the heat will be retained for longer, rather than escaping through the walls and roof.

If your storage heaters are old and inefficient, it might be time to consider changing your heating system. Through Switched On Gosport you can receive a fully funded gas central heating system, including any required gas connections. Gas central heating is up to 3 times cheaper to run than electric heating, and can provide heating on demand. We also offer assistance with getting your walls or loft insulated which will help you reduce your energy bills, and make it easier to heat your home, no matter what heating system you use.

For more information, click here. You can also give us a call on 0800 260 5907!

 

By Anttonia Lindup

Anttonia
Record water demand in hot weather

Gosport Water is asking everyone to keep water for essential use only for the duration of the current heatwave. The current heatwave we are experiencing has combined with the Covid restrictions and people taking ‘staycations’, to result in a record breaking demand for water this week. This demand is putting strain on the system and … Continued

Gosport Water is asking everyone to keep water for essential use only for the duration of the current heatwave.

The current heatwave we are experiencing has combined with the Covid restrictions and people taking ‘staycations’, to result in a record breaking demand for water this week.

This demand is putting strain on the system and threatens to leave some customers with low pressure or even without water as pipes reach capacity and cannot physically allow enough water through them fast enough for everyone’s use. So we are asking everyone to show some restraint and only to use water for essential purposes for the next few days, to ensure there is enough water to go around. We would ask people to put away their hosepipes and garden sprinklers and allow their grass to turn gold and their car to gather dust – for a couple of days, just until the heatwave has passed.

We are continuing to produce water 24/7 and our technicians are working around the clock to ensure houses and businesses have the essential water they need for cooking, cleaning and washing. With your help we can make sure everyone gets the water they need.

Bob Taylor, Gosport Water CEO commented

‘We are asking customers to restrict their use of water during the next few days of heatwave, in order to ensure that that all customers receive a reliable water supply. Demand over the weekend was the highest in over 10 years and we are encouraging people use water carefully to essential there is plenty for personal hygiene needs, something that so important to combat the spread of covid-19’.

As can be seen on the graph below demand is well above our average daily demand of 170 million litres a day (Mld). We are hoping with customer support we can get down to below 200 Mld by the end of the week, thereby easing the pressure on supplies.

portsmouth water

10 Pandemic Energy Saving Tips for Small Businesses

Construction sites, non-essential shops, restaurants, cafes, hairdressers, barbers, dental practices and offices will open at different rates all over UK depending on the risk of coronavirus spread. For the latest updates please visits the Government’s coronavirus business support pages here. The pandemic has put a strain on all aspects of life, including financial. Luckily there … Continued

Construction sites, non-essential shops, restaurants, cafes, hairdressers, barbers, dental practices and offices will open at different rates all over UK depending on the risk of coronavirus spread. For the latest updates please visits the Government’s coronavirus business support pages here.

The pandemic has put a strain on all aspects of life, including financial. Luckily there are some simple steps below we can take to avoid overpaying on energy bills. These are steps for all small businesses; whether your businesses has been open for weeks, or it opened very recently or it is still not open:

1) Take a meter reading!

Most homes & businesses are billed on estimated usage and if you have not been occupying your business premises then it is likely your actual usage will be much lower than the estimated reading.

2) Unplug unnecessary electrical devices

For example if you have an office fridge for lunches and milk you could unplug this if you do not expect to use it in the near future.

3) Adjust to your new capacity

Bars, Restaurants & Cafes: if you are not running at normal capacity and you would normally run several fridges and have a reduced stock you could consider reducing the number of running fridges.

4) Lighting & timers

Check there are no unnecessary lights left on; this is bad for your energy bills and the planet. If are leaving lights on for security purposes make sure you have put them on timers. Many businesses also leave signs saying ‘No cash/merchandise not left on premises’ which may be a good idea if appropriate for your business.

5) Heating controls

Adjust heating controls: when lockdown hit in March, many of us may not have adjusted thermostat lighting timers by then. Now that we are well into the summer months make sure your heating controls reflect the summer climate. If your business opening hours are changing to reflect the pandemic, make sure your timers are adjusted too.

6) Keeping cool in the heat

If you struggle to keep items in your business/shop cool in the summer months and have to use air con and fans to achieve this consider:

7) Consider a canopy

Keeping your door shut typically keeps your shop/business cool from the warmer air outside in summer. Many business will be unable to do this now in order to minimise public contact and spread of the virus. You could consider a canopy to shade the front of your shop and keep it cool this summer.

8) Do a price comparison and consider switching

You could be overpaying and missing out on a cheaper tariff. Click here for advice on switching suppliers as a small business.

9) Energy bill struggles?

If your small business is struggling or may struggle to pay its energy bills click here for advice.

10) Final tip: be scam aware.

If you receive an energy bill that looks suspicious check it is legitimate with your supplier. There are useful tips to avoid energy scams here.

 

By Louise Hyde
Louise

How to Protect Your Home From Overheating

We saw high temperatures this May Bank Holiday Monday in Gosport and with temperatures forecast to reach 23°C this weekend we are starting to feel the heat! The average number of hours for sunshine in England for May is 190.6 but is a much higher 240.8 for Gosport. We are lucky to receive more hours … Continued

We saw high temperatures this May Bank Holiday Monday in Gosport and with temperatures forecast to reach 23°C this weekend we are starting to feel the heat! The average number of hours for sunshine in England for May is 190.6 but is a much higher 240.8 for Gosport. We are lucky to receive more hours of sunshine than the rest of the UK and although we like to soak this up we may want to keep our homes cool, particularly if working from home during lockdown.

1) Protecting your home from direct sunlight:

Inside the property: windows in direct sunlight with no blinds or curtains will heat the home quickly through solar gain. For windows which receive lots of direct sunlight, particularly any south-facing windows it is worth sourcing some curtain and blinds. Light colours will help reflect the heat for these, whereas dark colours absorb it.

Outside the property: trees with large canopies can shade the parts of the house. Specifically you may want to shade the kitchen area of your home if it’s south-facing. Shutters are not common in the UK but if your property was particularly exposed to weather elements (perhaps at the front) then shutters can protect solar gain and from wind.For UK climate you may want the best of both worlds; to allow low-level sun into the property in the winter but prevent overheating in the summer. ‘Brise soleil’ is a design-solution to allow just that.

2) Insulating the property envelope

The more insulated your home is the more the inside is protected from outdoor temperatures, such as the cold air in the winter months and warmer air in the summer months. Therefore insulating all available aspects is a good idea: loft, floor and walls will help you protect from external conditions. You can also consider draft-proofing round doors and windows. Double-glazing and a UPVC door.

3) Air flow

Sometimes the air outside the property will be much hotter than the air inside in the summer months, especially if your home is well-insulated or shaded like above.

For natural ventilation to work effectively, cross-ventilation is best, i.e air would enter one side and exit another opposed to single-sided ventilation.

If your property is spread across several storeys utilise this; as hot air sinks it cools, so opening any roof windows and a basement or ground floor windows will help this cycle of cooling air. This cools the house from top to bottom.

4) Electrical devices

Lighting: halogen and incandescent bulbs emit more heat than LEDs.

Appliances/electronic devices: turn off unnecessary devices as these can contribute to overheating the property. It is also not good for the devices themselves to overheat.

Fridge: as it gets hotter your fridge has to worker much harder to keep its contents cool. It is worth hoovering the back of the fridge at this time of year if you can access it, as it over gathers dust and makes the fridge have to work harder.

Fans: shading and a cooling air flow are natural and inexpensive ways to cool your home, if using a fan over the summer months this will increase your electricity bill.

Air Conditioning: If you do use air conditioning then check it is running efficiently before running it this summer. It may be worth servicing it if you have not had this done recently.

5) Kitchen

You may notice fresh foods spoiling quicker in the heat and you may not have enough fridge space for it all. Try finding the coolest spot in your kitchen to keep items, ideally away from any oven or hobs.

 

We hope you enjoyed the blog, if you’re a Gosport resident and have any tips on how to stop your property from overheating please share them in the comments!

 

By Louise Hyde
Louise

What to Consider Before Switching Energy Suppliers

What to Consider Before Switching Energy Suppliers The ‘big six’ are commonly known as British Gas, EDF Energy, E.ON, Npower, Scottish Power and SSE. Over the last few years the UK has seen a change in the domestic energy market, with an increasing number of customers switching suppliers and more energy suppliers to choose from. … Continued

What to Consider Before Switching Energy Suppliers

The ‘big six’ are commonly known as British Gas, EDF Energy, E.ON, Npower, Scottish Power and SSE. Over the last few years the UK has seen a change in the domestic energy market, with an increasing number of customers switching suppliers and more energy suppliers to choose from. To understand if there are savings and benefits to be made through switching it’s best to understand your current, tariff, usage, ‘perks’ and potential exit fees first. Then you can weigh up any potential benefits.

Your current tariff

  • Since the supplier 4 tariff maximum was lifted in 2016 there are now many tariffs to choose from, the most common being: a fixed rate tariff and a variable tariff. A fixed rate tariff will charge you set prices, usually for 12-24 months. Whereas a variable tariff can fluctuate according to the market. For example, if the wholesale cost of electricity rises this will be reflected in your bills.
  • When choosing a fixed rate tariff, make a calendar reminder in your phone or laptop to notify you 1 month before the contract runs out so you can shop for the best deals before it runs out. If your contract ends you will get put onto a default standard variable tariff which is typically the most expensive.
  • Dual tariffs – if your property gets gas and electricity this may suit best. Typically suppliers will offer discounts on these to retain customers and business but you should also check if you can find any cheaper rates on a separate basis. 

Your current usage

  • Your supplier will be able to see your energy use patterns from meter readings and make recommendations on what tariffs may suit your usage best. New suppliers can also offer this if you know your usage information (which can be found on your latest bill, or will be estimated based on standard consumption figures).
  • The best thing is to check your printed bills or online account and check your current tariffs and how much you are currently paying per kWh to see if there are savings to be made. A switching site can do this comparison for you.

Current supplier perks

  • It’s worth checking if your current supplier offers the Warm Home Discount or the Priority services register. These are both useful for vulnerable households and not all suppliers are obligated to offer these services.

Current exit fees

  • This is where you would be charged if you want to leave the contract early. Ending as normal has no extra costs.
  • If you are on the default, standard variable tariff there are typically no exit fees.
  • As a general rule of thumb the cheaper your plan is the higher your exit fees may be.
  • Some suppliers may waive the exit fee if you are moving to another tariff within the same company if they would otherwise lose you.

Switching considerations

Customer service

  • Things which are usually important to consider are call wait times, complaints handling, transparency and bill clarity.
  • Which conducted a survey of over 8,000 households from 35 different suppliers in September 2019 to find how suppliers rated on such topics. You can view the results here.
  • You can see scores on sites like Trustpilot, which also lets you search for best green supplier etc. This can be helpful for ‘newer’ suppliers, for example Bulb has over 37,000 reviews gaining an impressive score of 4.8 out of 5. Similarly Octopus has over 25,000 reviews on Trustpilot and also a score of 4.8.

Environmental & Social Responsibility

  • Beyond how a supplier treats us we can consider how they treat the environment, their staff and local communities. It might be worth checking out your supplier’s commitments to support more vulnerable households. Additionally check their environmental approach, some suppliers will offer a green tariff and some suppliers are only green.

Paper or paperless

  • Most suppliers now offer both. Some supplies can offer a cheaper online i.e paperless tariff as this reduces printing and postage costs. It also cuts carbon emissions. Some new suppliers such as Pure Planet only offer online services.

‘Perks’ of larger suppliers

  • Some larger suppliers are able to offer ‘free’ gadgets on sign-up to their tariffs. Typically smart thermostats and plugs.
  • Some larger suppliers offer boiler cover too and you may want your boiler cover and energy supplier to be the same company.
  • Not all suppliers are obligated to offer the Warm Home Discount, to check which suppliers offer this click here. Check if this is an important factor for your switch.

Sustainable business growth

  • Scalability is key here, if the customer base increases quickly there will need to be customer operations support to handle this. Ofgem toughened up their requirements to trade in June 2019, meaning future suppliers had to show more thorough evidence of future funding and also customer service plans. These were introduced to try to prevent new suppliers failing. For peace of mind if your supplier does fail, Ofgem acts as a safety net by; protecting customers energy credit balance, ensuring continued energy supply and covering customer service aspects. Read more on what happens if your supplier stops trading here.

Reminders

  • Switching to a cheaper supplier or tariff can save you money, but to reduce your bills further and for the environment we should all try to save energy where possible. Read our energy saving tips for more!
  • If you are on the Priority Services register you will need to re-register with your new supplier.

Considering switching now?

Visit uSwitch to get started!

By Louise Hyde
Louise

 

Money savings on a table
Look after your bills and saving energy during lockdown

With the UK now on lockdown many of us are spending more time at home and worrying about energy bills on top of the general emotional and financial strain of the pandemic. If you are worried about meeting any bill payments or topping up credit on a pre-payment meter please contact your supplier. If you … Continued

With the UK now on lockdown many of us are spending more time at home and worrying about energy bills on top of the general emotional and financial strain of the pandemic.

If you are worried about meeting any bill payments or topping up credit on a pre-payment meter please contact your supplier. If you are vulnerable please contact your energy and water supplier about the priority services register. For more covid-19 related energy guidance read here.

Households with workers now working from home or kids now home from school will typically see a higher energy consumption with higher: kettle usage, cooking related energy use, computer and phone energy consumption and lighting and heating.

You may be worried about higher energy costs from this lockdown, however for many there could also be savings from travel costs and other expenses could balance this out.

Follow the tips to save energy and money:

Energy and Money Saving Tips

Tariffs & Suppliers

 You could be paying more for your energy by being on a more expensive tariff. Typically fixed rated tariffs are cheaper than a standard variable tariff. Check your bill to see what tariff you are on, then contact your supplier to see if there are cheaper tariffs available.

  • You will often be put onto a standard variable tariff at the end of your contract remember to check when your contract is up
  • You may also consider switching suppliers if an independent switching site recommends it could save you money. Check out switching here.
  • If you have separate gas and electricity tariffs you could investigate a dual tariff as many energy suppliers offer these and they can be cheaper than separate tariffs.
  • Before making any decisions or switching if you are in a contract check any exit fees and if the switching savings are greater than these fees.
  • If you are on an Economy 7 tariff try charging items at night when the rate is cheaper. More on economy 7 here.

Working from home:

  • Electronic devices: check all devices are on ‘energy savings mode’ and unplug them when not charging. Don’t charge your phone all night – most phones only take a few hours to charge!
  • Try pick the warmest room in the house for your ‘office’.
  • Make sure there isn’t furniture covering any main heating sources. This will block the heat from heating the room.
  • Pick somewhere with natural light (but without glare on screens) if possible to avoid need for artificial lighting.

Home schooling:

  • Body temperature drops when we are stationary so if possible try a morning and lunchtime exercise activity to keep boost temperatures.
  • Try plan lessons based on any printed materials they may have.
  • Concerned about kids’ consoles and gaming energy consumption? Try get the family to do watch any films together on the one device rather than all in separate rooms and using more energy.

Dishes:

  • Handwashing – Many of us want to wash dishes as soon as they are done so our kitchens don’t look messy but it is more efficient to wash them in larger batches. For those sharing etc this may not be suitable but compromise may be possible.
  • Dishwashers – similar with running the dishwasher it is most efficient to put on when it’s fully loaded however this will depend on the household’s routine.

 Cooking:

  • If you have stocked up on a large amount of perishable goods you may want to batch cook and freeze portions to reduce cooking time and therefore energy use. This also stops perishable good from spoiling.
  • When filling the kettle or a pan on the hob only fill the required amount, overfilling will require more energy to heat a larger volume of water.
  • Choose appropriate sized pans when cooking and using lids will also save energy.
  • Low energy use meals can be cereal, sandwiches etc.

Fridge/freezer:

  • Try not to overpack and air needs to circulate to keep items at even, cool temperatures.
  • Defrost items in the fridge if you have time. This will help keep the fridge temperature cool for less energy.
  • Don’t put hot meals straight into the fridge as this will raise the overall temperate triggering the refrigeration energy to increase.

Washing:

 Investigate if your washing machine has an ‘eco’ setting. Most modern washing machines have these.

  • Many of us will be washing items more frequently with hygiene and contamination concerns. Keep laundry in a separate bag or basket and wash at 40 if you have hygiene concerns.
  • Slower pace – Now with a slower-paced lifestyle you may have time to dry washing naturally and even outside if possible. Where possible dry washing outside as breathing in the moisture molecules can be harmful to breathe in.

Heating

Check your thermostat and boiler setting programme. Do you want to adjust this to reflect your new work patterns. Tip: have you checked the time on your boiler is right after the clocks changed this week? Recommended thermostat settings are between 18 & 21 degrees Celsius. You could save up to £85 a year by turning your thermostat down just 1 degree.

Bathrooms

  • Remember to turn the tap off when brushing your teeth. Energy is used to treat water to make it save to come out the tap.
  • It could be tempting to use any saved commuting time for longer in the shower but try a timer to keep you on track and how water use down.
  • On warmer days you may way to use natural ventilation from open windows instead of an extractor fan.

Appliances

  • If you are interested in comparing the energy usage of appliances then there are typically ratings here.
  • Your appliances at home may vary depending on how energy efficient they are. There is a EU derived white goods rating system to help consumer recognise this easily. You may have seen these labels on appliances; a rainbow style sticker with A – G ratings with A being the most efficient.

Excess Condensation

  • It’s also important to keep areas of moisture production like kitchens and bathrooms well ventilated. If you don’t have an extractor fan, having the windows open during and after cooking and showering can help.
  • Where possible try drying washing outside or in well ventilated rooms.
  • For more advice on damp & condensation please see our extended guidance.

You can also read our ‘How to Save Energy at Home Page’ here.

If you are still worried, contact:

By Louise Hyde
Louise