Birmingham City Council

Energy Wise

It pays to be ‘Energy Wise’. By controlling the energy we use, we can control what it costs us. The average household could save on energy bills by being more energy efficient and by budgeting. It’s not about making huge changes to our daily lives, but small changes which together could save money.

Here are some useful tips and contacts to help you make savings and stay warm over the winter.

Maximise your income

Ensure you are getting your correct benefits and tax credits. Take a look at our Benefits web page.

Budget for fuel

Work out how much you spend on fuel so you can budget to cover your fuel costs.

Reading your meters

If you are not sure how to read and understand your meters contact your fuel supplier for advice. This will help you keep an eye on your energy use.

Compare tariffs and get the best deal

Read your meter, compare tariffs and shop around. Many companies now operate dual fuel schemes which can save you money if you buy both gas and electric from the same supplier.

Payment options for your bills

Look into different ways of paying for your fuel and energy bills, such as direct debit, a fixed payment budget scheme or a flexible payment scheme.

Fuel arrears

If you are in arrears with your gas and electricity, you may be able to get help from your fuel supplier. Contact them immediately and discuss your options.

Energy efficiency tips

Improving energy efficiency is about enhancing the quality of life for people today and for future generations. It can help to reduce fuel bills, prevent health problems and reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions.

• Turn off lights when not in use
• Get the most from your central heating – if you can, turn down the thermostat a degree or two and only turn on radiators in the rooms you use most often
• use energy saving bulbs
• close curtains at night to keep the heat in
• do not block radiators with furniture
• defrost fridges and freezers regularly
• only use the amount of water you need when boiling the kettle
• never leave mobile phones on charge overnight
• make sure computer equipment is switched off and unplugged when not in use
• electrical appliances on standby cost money – switch off
• put lids on pots and turn down the heat when the water starts to boil
• try to use the oven as efficiently as possible –opening the oven door to check cooking loses 20% of the accumulated heat
• wash your clothes at no more than 40 degrees
• Make sure your house is well insulated
• Choose electrical appliances with a high energy efficiency rating.

Winter fuel payments

Most people aged 60 or over will automatically get a winter fuel payment to help with winter heating costs. If you are not sure if you should get a payment call the winter fuel payments helpline on 08459 151 515.
Some people in receipt of benefits can get a cold weather payment if the temperature drops below a minimum for a set number of days. You don't need to apply for this as it will be automatically paid.

Help and advice

Consumer Focus can help with consumer issues you have regarding gas and electricity suppliers.
www.consumerfocus.org.uk

Home Heat is a website and helpline run by the energy industry to help people who are struggling with their fuel bills or who need help to speak to their gas or electricity provider. You can call them free on 0800 33 66 99.
www.homeheathelpline.org.uk

The Energy Saving Trust gives independent and impartial advice about how to save energy and money. You can call them free on 0800 512 012.
www.energysavingtrust.org.uk

The Green Deal offers help to get energey saving improvements done to your home.
www.gov.uk/green-deal-energy-saving-measures

Ofgem promote choice and value for all gas and electricity companies.
www.ofgem.gov.uk