We can’t do much about energy prices, but there are other actions you can take to reduce the costs of other utility bills and access grants.
1) Are you on the Priority Services Register?
The energy companies all hold a Priority Services Register which offers extra help and support to households if there was a power cut or if the gas supply was interrupted. It is also important that any energy company knows about any vulnerability in the home. For example, a prepayment meter can’t be forcibly installed if there are children under 5 in the home, or someone with mains powered medical equipment. To sign up you can call your energy supplier or sign up here using our partner code 006. It is not based on household income, just whether you meet any of the following criteria:
2) How can you reduce your water costs?
Yorkshire Water offers a number of schemes that can help with water bills:
Community Trust and Resolve schemes. These will help customers who are in arrears with their water bills.
Water Sure: This can help cap the water bills for low income households who have a water meter but where a) a household member has a medical condition which means they use more water than average or b) have three or more children under 19.
Water Support: If you are a low income household and your annual water bill is more than £350 then this scheme can also help to reduce your water costs.
For more information on Yorkshire Water’s schemes click here.
3) Are you eligible for financial support based on what you do for work, either now or in the past?
There is a huge range of occupational benevolent funds that support anyone who has worked in a particular job. For example, there are ones for those who work in retail, construction, hospitality, transport, pubs/breweries, entertainment, armed forces, teaching and many more. Some may help with priority bills such as energy, others with other individual needs. There is an excellent grants finder on the Turn2Us website.
4) Are you eligible for cheaper broadband?
If you receive Universal Credit or another means-tested benefit, you may qualify for a social tariff for your broadband. This could be £15 per month instead of £30. See information on the Ofcom website.
5) Are you getting all the benefits you’re entitled to?
£15 billion of benefits go unclaimed every year, including Council Tax reduction, Child Tax Credits and Pension Credit. You can do your own benefits check here or speak to the Citizens Advice.
6) Are you staying safe from carbon monoxide?
Carbon monoxide is known as the Silent Killer, you can’t see it, smell or or taste it. It is produced when fuel doesn’t burn properly, this could be if an appliance is faulty or has been badly maintained or if there isn’t sufficient ventilation.
To stay safe you need a carbon monoxide alarm. From 1st October the law has changed and it is now a legal requirement for landlords to provide carbon monoxide alarms. Also, be aware that:
a) Carbon monoxide is not just produced from gas appliances. Solid fuel (wood and coal), LPG, oil, BBQs, generators can all potentially produce carbon monoxide.
b) The symptoms of low level CO poisoning are very similar to things we feel all the time, e.g. headaches, feeling sick or tired.