Lower fuel bills

We want you to be able to keep yourself warm this winter and minimise costs at a time when we know that energy costs are rising.
 
Help is available from your energy supplier if you’re struggling. We've also trained our employees you come into contact with, so they can offer you guidance. And we have various grants and other support that may help. If you would like to speak to someone today about saving energy and money, get in touch with us.
 

Energy suppliers and fuel bills

With energy prices rising, here’s some advice from one of our partners, Tenants Save Money Limited.

  • Ofgem, the regulator, says that wholesale gas price increases aren’t an issue of supply and that there’s capacity to more than meet demand.
  • If your energy supplier goes out of business, Ofgem will appoint a new supplier and your supply won’t be disrupted. The advice is to take a meter reading, don’t switch, wait for Ofgem to choose a new supplier (this way any credit you have will be moved across) and wait for the new supplier to contact you. (You can then switch to another supplier if you prefer.)
  • The impact of price rises will depend on your energy supplier and tariff. If you’re on a fixed price tariff, the price you pay per unit of energy won’t change until the end of your fixed rate period. If you’re on a variable tariff or prepayment meter, the Energy Price Cap puts an upper limit on the maximum price your supplier can charge you per unit of energy. But the cap and most standard variable tariffs go up by 12% from 1 October 2021 – so you may want to shop around to see if you can find a better deal.
  • If you’re finding it hard to pay your energy bills, contact your supplier as soon as possible. Most have support available for low income and fuel-poor households who are struggling with their bills. This includes the Warm Home Discount (which provides eligible households with a £140 discount), Winter Fuel Payments and Cold Weather Payments.
  • The emergency measures agreed between the government and energy suppliers to support those most in need during Covid-19 will also remain in place this winter. Energy suppliers won’t disconnect your gas or electric if you miss a payment right now. Ask for ‘emergency credit’ if you use a prepay meter and you can’t top up. Ofgem rules also mean suppliers must offer payment plans you can afford.
Find out more about payment plans, schemes, grants and benefits on the Ofgem website. There’s also more about the financial support available on gov.uk.
 
If you’re a vulnerable person, you can also ask your energy provider to place you on the Priority Services Register. This gives you things like advance notice for planned power cuts (important if you rely on your energy supply for medical reasons) and priority support in an emergency. To check whether you are eligible for support, visit Ofgem



Help with other household bills and costs

Sometimes, covering the costs of running your home can be a struggle. Here are some other resources to help you manage your household outgoings and make savings: 
  1. My Home Energy Switch offers free and impartial advice on how to reduce your home energy bills. All you need is your postcode and a current energy bill to compare and switch online.  Or you can call 0800 001 4706 to talk to an advisor.
  2. USwitch – compares gas and electricity suppliers, broadband deals, mobile phone deals, car and home insurance.
  3. Energy Saving Trust – energy advice from a government funded organisation, including tips, information and details of grants and offers.
  4. All water companies have measures in place for people who struggle to pay for their water and wastewater services. You can find a full list of possible support on WaterUK's website. WaterSure also offers a special low cost tariff if you have a water meter and are receiving certain benefits.
  5. Don’t forget to contact your council to check if you can get help from the Council Tax Reduction Scheme - also called Council Tax Support.
  6. Love Food (Hate Waste) – offers recipe tips, and ideas on using leftovers and more (it’s estimated the average household throws away around £400 worth of food a year).
  7. Trussell Trust – to find a food bank near you or make a donation.

Sovereign also has an arrangement with Pocket Power, a telephone triage service that can help you save money on your household bills. This looks at more than just gas and electric, including water, sewerage, broadband and mobile phones. If you’re struggling with your fuel bills, contact moneyanddigital@sovereign.org.uk or get in touch with your usual Sovereign contact (such as an income officer or tenancy support adviser if you’re working with one) to access the Pocket Power service and get other advice and support.
 
You may also be interested in our page about finding affordable broadband or more about our two money and digital grants: one to provide you with equipment to get online and one to help if you need a new white good (like a washing machine, fridge freezer or oven), but are struggling to afford to buy them.
 

Help with budgeting, debt advice and more

Our Money and Digital Service is here to help you with money matters, support to access digital equipment or if you find it hard to use the internet.
 
Budgeting training - We can offer support if you’re looking for ways to make your money go further.  Maybe you always find yourself short at the end of the month or struggle to make your money stretch to cover everything you need in a month. We can support you with this by giving you skills and tips all on how to make the most of your budget. Budgeting is a one to one training course delivered remotely through ‘We are Digital’.  It provides up to three sessions of 2.5 hours training, tailored your individual needs.
 
Debt advice - We know it can feel very overwhelming when you’re struggling with paying your bills at the same time as already having debt that you’re trying to pay back. We can support you with completely free and independent debt advice and help you to find a solution that is right for you. This service is designed to help you see a future in which you are free from debt and able to enjoy a less stressful life. You can access this directly through Payplan. Or if you prefer, email moneyanddigital@sovereign.org.uk and we can refer you into the advice service.


For more information 

Visit our cold weather tips page for information on our responsibilities for gritting and advice on how to keep warm in your home.
 
Our tips for looking after your home include what to do if your electric goes off, advice on getting to know your heating system (including bleeding a radiator and getting the best out of storage heaters and dealing with boiler problems) and hot water system (including stopcocks, avoiding frozen pipes - and what to do if they are frozen).

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