How REAP can help
***For Energy Advice during the Coronavirus Pandemic, please see our dedicated Coronvirus page***
The information below relates to support, grants and loans available prior to the coronavirus pandemic. Not all are in operation at present and this information is not being updated but is available for reference.
If you are worried about being cut off or struggling to pay your energy bills, please call your energy supplier and ask to speak to someone who can help you. Most energy companies have trained staff who will want to help and there are rules about not cutting off households with elderly people, young children and other vulnerable people. REAP staff can support you with this if you need help. Energy Companies have pledged to support customers during the pandemic. Energy Companies have support schemes for pre-payment meters – see the Coronavirus page for more details. Debt management was put on hold initially but can resume from 1st July. Debt management processes must be fair and take careful consideration of customers’ ability to pay. The regulator, Ofgem, has said they will not tolerate sharp practice (sneaky or less than honest behaviour) or aggressive debt collection. Ofgem expects that companies will be easy to contact and will signpost customers to other sources of help and to cheaper tariffs.
REAP offers free and impartial energy advice to households across Moray through our Energy Advice Moray project. Anyone who lives in Moray is eligible for advice and can speak to REAP directly. We particularly want to hear from people spending a large part of their income on heating their home and those who are worried about paying their bills or fuel debt. We can provide advice by phone, you can arrange an appointment at our office in Keith or come along to drop-in sessions and events across Moray. If necessary, we may arrange a visit to your home. We can offer advice on:
- Getting the best deal on your energy bills
- Switching tariffs and/or suppliers
- Saving energy in your home
- How to use heating controls to keep you warm and save money
- Information on energy grants and schemes (see links below for more information)
REAP works in partnership with other agencies in Moray. We also take referrals from Home Energy Scotland, Moray Food Plus, Citizens’ Advice Bureau (Moray CAB), housing officers, health visitors and others. Depending on your situation, we can make referrals on to these organisations, too.
Please call us on 01542 888070 or email firstname.lastname@example.org and one of our trained Energy Advisers will get back to you. This work is funded by the Energy Industry Voluntary Redress Scheme, www.energyredress.org.uk
The Community Energy Champions project is funded by the Adam Family Foundation & Beatrice Offshore Wind Farm Ltd. Community Benefit Fund. This project is aimed at recruiting volunteers from Moray to become Community Energy Champions at a FREE, fun and interactive session so they can pass on tips and advice to friends and family to help them tame high bills. Travel expenses and refreshments will be provided. This project is also delivering energy saving sessions to schools, community groups, and selected locations including local job centres. More details are available on our leaflet here.
Further information on grants, loans, and help with heating bills
Click the links to jump to each section
Energy Grants (Warmer Homes Scotland Scheme, ECO/Affordable Warmth Scheme, HEEPS)
Switching can save money on your heating bills. We can take a look at your heating bills and do a switching comparison either online or over the phone in your home if you’d like some help. We are impartial so do not recommend one supplier over another and all our energy advice services are free. With a limited number of tariffs on offer, the energy market is a bit clearer and information on your bills makes it easier to compare providers so there’s never been an easier time to switch. Switching is free, should take no more than 21 days, and there will be no disruption to your supply. Find out more about the switching guarantee here.
If you’d like to switch online yourself, use an Ofgem accredited switching company – they adhere to a code of conduct and will tell you about all the tariffs they have available, not just the ones that they get paid commission on. You’ll find a link to a list on this page of the Ofgem website.
Switching by phone
If you’d prefer to switch by phone, you may want to switch with Uswitch. Have your energy bills to hand and after a 10 minute call their energy advisers will find the best tariff for you. They also factor in Warm Home Discount and the kind of service you’ll get from providers so please ask so you can make an informed decision. You can contact them directly on 0800 6888 557 to find out more (0800 numbers are now free from all UK mobiles on all networks) or go to the Uswitch website.
Things you might want to check when switching:
- What is the tariff rate? Is there a standing charge and how much? (or what is the tariff comparison rate which takes both of these into account)
- Is the rate fixed or variable? If it’s fixed, will it stay fixed or will it come down if energy prices come down?
- What are the terms of the contract? How long is it for? Is there an exit fee if I leave early?
- How can I pay my bill – by post, online, by phone?
- Are there any discounts – for direct debit, paperless billing, for dual fuel?
- Are there any other incentives? e.g. cashback or boiler cover included
- If you’ve had any problems in the past, you may also want to check what happens if you can’t pay – does the company offer payment holidays or will it come to an agreement with you or does it offer a budget or flexi scheme to help smooth out energy costs over the year.
*Switching and the Warm Home Discount (WHD) – if you are entitled to the WHD (a £140 rebate on your bill if you are in receipt of Pension Credit guarantee element or certain other benefits), you need to have been a customer of your energy supplier for at least 6 months so it’s a good idea to switch soon after receiving your WHD payment.
For free and impartial advice on grants and loans and to check your eligibility, contact Home Energy Scotland on 0808 808 2282. Grants include the Warmer Home Scotland Scheme (WHSS) and the Affordable Warmth Scheme. These grants are available to owner occupiers, or to private tenants who have their landlord’s permission to apply. Eligible households must receive qualifying benefits and meet other criteria. These grants are not available to Council or housing association tenants, who should contact their housing provider.
Warmer Home Scotland Scheme (WHSS)
Warmer Homes Scotland is a Scottish Government grant scheme designed to help homeowners and private sector tenants who are struggling to heat their home. It aims to make homes warmer by installing energy saving measures such as insulation, central heating, draught-proofing and renewable heating systems.
To be eligible, you must have lived in the property for at least 12 months and meet other qualifying criteria, including receiving certain types of benefits. Advisers at Home Energy Scotland (0808 808 2282) can guide you through the process, including arranging a survey of your property and advising you on accredited installers. Further information and the full list of qualifying criteria are also available on the Energy Saving Trust website
Affordable Warmth Scheme / Energy Company Obligation (ECO) & HEEPS
To qualify for these schemes, you must own your home or have the permission of the homeowner to do the work. ECO and HEEPS schemes vary by local authority area. Previous work has included replacement boilers, insulation, or improvements to solid wall properties. Arrangements are usually made by the contractors who will be carrying out the work, but sometimes by energy suppliers. To find out what is available in your area and if you are eligible, we recommend you contact Home Energy Scotland, your local authority and your energy supplier. (Some energy suppliers also offer improvements to households that are not their customers so you may want to check with other energy suppliers.)
The Home Energy Scotland Loan is is an interest free loan for owner occupiers and private landlords. Home Energy Scotland (0808 808 2282) administer this loan and can advise on the energy saving measures the loan can be used for, amounts that can be borrowed, pay-back times etc. You can also find all the details on this page of the Energy Saving Trust Website.
Warm Home Discount
The Warm Home Discount (WHD) is a once a year credit given to eligible customers by the bigger energy companies. It appears as a credit on your electricity bill. For 2020/21 the amount has been set at £140. Some customers get it automatically but some have to apply. For a list of companies see this page on the UK Government website. If you are thinking about switching energy supplier, you might want to check the new supplier is part of this scheme and check you’ll still get the discount if you switch. Recently, a scheme for those living in Park Homes was piloted. An expression of interest form is available here.
- People who get the guarantee element of Pension Credit are in the ‘core group’ and should receive this payment automatically.
- People on a low income receiving certain benefits are known as the ‘broader group’. They need to re-apply each year. Each energy company sets its own eligibility criteria and they may change from year to year. Places are limited and WHD is given out on a first-come-first-served basis so it’s important not to delay in applying when the scheme opens each year. Some energy companies offer text or email reminders to let you know when the scheme is open for applications. You need to apply online if at all possible. REAP can help with this if you have difficulty.
Help to Heat: Assisted Gas Connections
SGN offer free or reduced cost gas connections to qualifying households. SGN looks after the gas network in the whole of Scotland, they are not the company you pay your gas bills to. You must make arrangements to install a gas central heating system before the connection can go ahead. You may be able to get help with costs of that, for example through Warmer Homes Scotland Scheme (0808 808 2282). For more information on qualifying criteria and how to apply see this page on SGN’s website.
You can download an easy read leaflet on dealing with damp from the Centre for Sustainable Energy’s, available here.
Damp and mould are bad for your home and may make asthma and other health problems worse. Damp can be caused by condensation. This causes mould that looks like clouds of little black dots in cold spots, on walls and ceilings, often in the bathroom or kitchen, or behind furniture or in cupboards. Damp can also be due to leaking roofs or water pipes.
To deal with damp, try to find out the cause. Repair any leaks or other damage. Tackle a general damp or condensation problem by:
Reducing the amount of moist air in your home
• Keep the lids on your saucepans when you are cooking
• Dry your clothes outdoors, or on a clothes airer in a bathroom with the window open. Do not dry them on a radiator
• If your tumble dryer has a hose, make sure it is outside
• Do not use paraffin heaters or bottled gas heaters
• Keep kitchen and bathroom doors shut when you cook, or when you have a shower or bath
Improve ventilation and let moist air out
• Open the window while cooking or showering so that steam goes outside, not into your other rooms, or use an extractor fan if you have one – they are not expensive to run
• If your windows have trickle vents fitted, keep them open
• Make sure there is a gap between furniture and the walls. Air your wardrobes and cupboards sometimes by leaving the doors open
• Open windows to give unused rooms an airing from time to time
Make sure your home is warm and well insulated
• Make sure your loft and walls are insulated
• Make sure your windows and outside doors have draught proofing
• Change single glazed windows for double glazing
• Don’t put furniture in front of radiators
• Set any radiators to low in unused rooms where damp is a problem
There’s useful information on condensation and damp on the Energy Saving Trust website.
Feed in Tariffs (FIT) and Smart Export Guarantee
Feed in Tariffs were part of a UK Government scheme which paid money to people generating electricity e.g. through solar panels. It closed to new applications after 31st March 2019. Previous applicants can find information on GOV.UK and Energy Saving Trust websites. You can find information about the upcoming Smart Export Guarantee on the Energy Saving Trust website. Further information on administration of the scheme is available on the Ofgem website and the Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS) is here.
Renewable Heat Incentive
The Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) is a UK Government scheme set up to encourage people, businesses and communities to take up renewable heating systems by paying a financial incentive. This includes, for example, biomass boilers, air to water heat pumps, ground to water heat pumps, solar heating etc.
The scheme has changed recently. Please see the Energy Saving Trust’s page for RHI for criteria for the domestic RHI scheme, more information and instructions on how to apply.