Skip to content
All
Blog
News
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 when 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.
  • 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.

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.

If you are still worried, contact:

By Louise Hyde
Louise

energy efficiency award win 2020
Portsmouth City Council wins “Regional Council of the Year” award for energy efficiency

Portsmouth City Council’s Energy Services team won the “Regional Council of the Year” award at the South East Energy Efficiency Awards last week. The in-house team was also highly commended in the “Vulnerable Customer Support Campaigner of the Year” category. These new awards come fresh from success at the National Energy Efficiency awards in November, where … Continued

Portsmouth City Council’s Energy Services team won the “Regional Council of the Year” award at the South East Energy Efficiency Awards last week. The in-house team was also highly commended in the “Vulnerable Customer Support Campaigner of the Year” category. These new awards come fresh from success at the National Energy Efficiency awards in November, where the team won the National Social Responsibility Organisation of the Year award.

The Council of the Year award is presented to one lead local authority judged to have undertaken outstanding energy efficiency, generation and social good projects for the local community.

The projects considered by the judges of particular note were the Council’s continued roll-out of solar panels to its buildings. Over 3,500 additional solar panels were added to Council properties over the past year. This means that Portsmouth City Council now has 6 megawatts of clean solar generation; creating enough clean energy each year to power 1,500 typical homes for a year and offsetting nearly 1,600 tonnes of carbon emissions per annum.

The team’s work with other clients to support their roll-out of solar was also recognised. In West Sussex, the energy services team project managed installations of solar to 35 schools; as well as working with other clients on a range of energy services.

The award also recognises the work that the energy services team does to tackle fuel poverty in the city; providing assistance and affordable warmth to some of Portsmouth’s most vulnerable households. Over the past 12 months, the team has increased the number of households being seen by nearly 300%, has attracted additional external funding and has launched Switched On Portsmouth.

Switched On Portsmouth (www.switchonportsmouth.co.uk) houses all of the Council’s energy offers to Portsmouth homes under a single roof. Allowing people to more easily access the help and support that they need. The development of the website and Switched On has been carried out alongside the publication of the Council’s Home Energy and Water Strategy which aims to further strengthen the offers available for people to improve the energy efficiency of their homes.

Cllr Darren Sanders, the council’s Cabinet Member for Housing, said:

“Once again our expert in-house energy services team has been recognised as the leading organisation in the South East when it comes to energy.”

“Following a number of awards in recent years, the city and its residents should take pride in the fact that they have an industry-leading service that provides expert energy efficiency projects as well as a number of brilliant energy and money saving initiatives”.

“From tackling fuel poverty to installing more than 20,000 solar panels in 2019, the broad remit of our expert energy services team benefits residents and our environment alike.”

It is the second year in a row that the Council’s in-house team has won the award.

Radiator with a thermostat
The Future of Gas Central Heating

Net Zero by 2030 Portsmouth City Council unanimously decided to declare a climate emergency in March of 2019. This set an ambitious target of reaching net zero carbon emissions by 2030. ‘Net Zero’ basically means that the council aims to achieve a balance between carbon emissions and the carbon removed from the atmosphere. This offset … Continued

Net Zero by 2030

Portsmouth City Council unanimously decided to declare a climate emergency in March of 2019. This set an ambitious target of reaching net zero carbon emissions by 2030. ‘Net Zero’ basically means that the council aims to achieve a balance between carbon emissions and the carbon removed from the atmosphere. This offset can be achieved by reducing carbon emissions in one sector, or by directly removing the amount of carbon in the atmosphere through the planting of trees, or the use of carbon capture and storage, for example.

The council recently announced its greenest budget ever, with £37 million proposed to be invested in environmentally friendly projects.

The majority of household emissions come from heating your home, and 18% of the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions comes from residential heating.  In light of this, Chancellor Philip Hammond recently announced that gas central heating will be banned for all new build properties by 2025. This does not mean that properties which are already built and using gas central heating will have to rip their systems out, and it does not mean that gas central heating cannot be installed as a retrofit measure in existing homes.

Man fixing a boiler

Gas central heating is up to three times cheaper to run than electric systems. It is a vitally important measure to reduce the risks to those living in fuel poverty.

Fuel Poverty

12.1% of Portsmouth is considered to be fuel poor – these households cannot afford to keep their homes warm and healthy. Many will have to pick between heating their home and feeding their family, leading to many living in damp and cold homes which exacerbates physical and mental illnesses and impacts child development. There are clear links between cold homes and the amount of excess winter deaths across the UK, of which there were 23,000 in 2018-19.

Elderly lady warming hands by fire

There are currently three sources of funding within England which support the installation of gas central heating in vulnerable households. New regulations from Ofgem mean that insulation measures must go ahead before any new system will be funded – this will reduce heating demand as heat will be better retained within the property, ensuring energy efficiency.

Current Infrastructure 

It might seem counter-productive to continue to install gas central heating in properties when we are aiming for carbon neutrality. However, as ambitious as the 2030 target is, the current energy infrastructure could not match the demand for clean energy. If all existing homes which currently use gas central heating were to switch to electricity in the hope of reducing their carbon emissions, the grid would need massive reinforcement works to accommodate the huge increase in demand.

If these homes then moved to electric storage heaters, they would be faced with one of the most expensive options within the UK, with higher carbon emissions than most systems – including gas central heating. Providing sufficient electricity to meet Britain’s peak winter demand would add enormously to the challenge of de-carbonising power generation, and it is likely that these peaks in demand would have to be met with fossil fuel generated power.

Green Gas

If the future decarbonisation plan involves creating ‘Green Gas’ by blending hydrogen into the natural gas mix, up to two thirds of the cost of a gas central heating system will still be able to work, meaning the current funding will not be rendered useless in the future if this change to the system is made. It is likely that the boiler installed alongside the system will have reached the end of its life before any adaptations are required, anyway.

Biomethane, the product of anaerobic digestion, is already being fed into the gas grid. This is a green source of gas, and requires no changes to the current gas central heating systems being installed. The council already recognises the benefits of creating biomethane, and are currently trialling a food waste recycling method which will result in the creation of this natural resource by sending the waste to an anaerobic digestion plant. If the main gas mix was to include more of this biomethane, it would reduce the carbon emissions associated with heating.

Renewable Heat

Renewable heating systems such as air source and ground source heat pumps have been raised as the key to decarbonising heat. This technology works by absorbing heat from the outside air or the ground to heat radiators and underfloor heating systems. They require electricity to run, but the heat they extract is a natural renewable source. However, these systems have a high upfront installation cost which will be too much for most households even taking the government Renewable Heat Incentive scheme (which is set to end in March 2021) in to account. They require the property they are installed in to be very energy efficient in order to be cost effective – currently, the majority of the housing stock in the UK would not meet these requirements, meaning these systems could cost occupiers huge amounts to run.

Final Thoughts

A planned out and realistic route to decarbonising heat is needed before support to fuel poor and vulnerable households is withdrawn. Despite the ambitious net zero targets, the affordability of technologies to support this are not yet readily available. The UK government plans to publish a road map to low carbon heat this year; this should provide direction for the future of the installation of gas central heating systems in the UK – however, we cannot run the risk of leaving vulnerable households to live in cold homes whilst the UK draws up these future decarbonisation plans.

87.9% of Portsmouth homes are not considered to be living in fuel poverty. It makes more sense in the meanwhile to target energy efficiency measures to reduce carbon emissions in these households. The Council’s recently released “Energy and Water at Home Strategy” outlines how this will be achieved


Anttonia

Written by: Anttonia Lindup 

 

 

FP Awareness Event
Council’s ‘End Fuel Poverty’ event raises awareness of cold homes and vulnerable people in Portsmouth

The issue of fuel poverty in Portsmouth was highlighted at a council event held for stakeholders from across the city last month. The awareness event was held in conjunction with and funded by National Energy Action (NEA) as part of their ‘Warm and Safe Homes’ (WASH) campaign. The ‘End Fuel Poverty in Portsmouth’ event was … Continued

The issue of fuel poverty in Portsmouth was highlighted at a council event held for stakeholders from across the city last month. The awareness event was held in conjunction with and funded by National Energy Action (NEA) as part of their ‘Warm and Safe Homes’ (WASH) campaign.

The ‘End Fuel Poverty in Portsmouth’ event was held on Thursday 30th January. Partnering organisations, council staff, councillors and charities attended to listen to a number of talks from front-line organisations and key stakeholders who are tackling fuel poverty in England whilst discussing new ways of working.

Around 12.1 per cent of Portsmouth households cannot afford to keep their homes adequately warm, compared with the national average rate of 10.9 per cent. Fuel poverty often leads to colder homes and can have an adverse effect on the physical and mental health of adults, young people and the elderly.

The council has previously outlined its commitment to tackling fuel poverty and ensuring residents can keep their homes warm at an affordable cost. Switched On Portsmouth, a new campaign launched last year by the council, signposts residents to a number of free initiatives and schemes that can help them keep their homes warm, whilst saving money and energy. Initiatives include free home visits, free gas central heating installation, emergency boiler replacement and expert advice and support.

£170,000 of Energy Redress funding has been awarded to the Council and partners The Environment Centre to extend the reach of support available to those most at risk of fuel poverty through deep dive support and emergency fuel top up vouchers.

On the event funding, Adam Scorer at National Energy Action said:

“It is a tragedy that so many people die or suffer the health impacts of living in a cold home when they are largely preventable. This is why NEA committed to provide funding to so many different organisations across the country.

We anticipate that the funding will make it possible for Portsmouth City Council to provide much needed support for residents within the local area”.

Staff from local organisations, particularly those who deal with vulnerable people, were invited to the event. Serving as a platform to raise awareness of fuel poverty, the event also provided an opportunity to promote the help that is available to residents and how organisations can work together to help those at risk.

The event was opened by Councillor Darren Sanders, the Council’s Cabinet Member for Housing. There were then talks held on the health impacts of living in a cold home, technical innovation projects carried out by Southampton University and discussion of the council’s recent ‘Energy and Water at Home’ strategy.

Speaking about the event, Councillor Darren Sanders said:

“Raising awareness of the problem of fuel poverty in Portsmouth is vital. Many people may be in fuel poverty or know someone who is but may not be aware of what help is available.”

“Whilst we are making huge efforts to help residents who can’t afford to keep their homes warm, we need to make even more people aware of the issue across the city.”

“I am keen to make sure the Council and other agencies in the city work together to enable all homes in the city to be as energy efficient as possible. The recent ‘End Fuel Poverty in Portsmouth’ event is a great example of this multi-agency working.”

The council recently participated in NEA’s ‘Nation’s Biggest Housewarming’; a nationwide fundraising effort to tackle fuel poverty. As well as raising money to tackle fuel poverty, the event also provided an opportunity to Signpost the support available to staff so they are fully equipped to provide support to residents within their roles.

In recent years the council has held over 100 engagement events in community centres, libraries and housing offices in order to raise awareness fuel poverty in the community.

If you or someone you know is struggling with energy bills or to keep their home warm, make sure to visit www.switchedonportsmouth.co.uk for expert advice and free energy saving initiatives and measures.

Lady warming hands by fire
4,000 vulnerable Portsmouth households to benefit additional energy and money saving support

4,000 of Portsmouth’s most vulnerable households will get help and advice to cut their fuel bills through cash secured by Portsmouth City Council. The £170,000 grant comes from the charity the Environment Centre as part of its Energy Redress Scheme. This aims to get people out of fuel poverty. This is the latest in £7.4m … Continued

4,000 of Portsmouth’s most vulnerable households will get help and advice to cut their fuel bills through cash secured by Portsmouth City Council.

The £170,000 grant comes from the charity the Environment Centre as part of its Energy Redress Scheme. This aims to get people out of fuel poverty.

This is the latest in £7.4m of grants the council has got to tackle fuel poverty in the city. Around 12.1 per cent of Portsmouth households in Portsmouth cannot afford to keep their homes adequately warm, compared with the national average rate of 10.9 per cent.

The grant will help create a team to reach out to vulnerable and disadvantaged communities to reduce their risk of fuel poverty and support them to stay warm and well in their homes.

It will also enable fuel-poor households to receive an in-depth and extended home-visit service, covering free fuel top ups to a dedicated energy advice phone line. This builds on the existing provision that offers a range of measures, including:

– install free simple energy saving measures such as LED light bulbs and draught-proofing

– check if residents are on the best energy tariff

– arrange a free money advice consultation

– residents find funding for further energy-saving home improvements.

Funding will also be used to further develop the City’s ‘Fuel Poverty Working Group’, made up of stakeholders from across Portsmouth working towards a collaborative approach to tackling fuel poverty.

Councillor Darren Sanders, the council’s Cabinet Member for Housing said:

“Too many people in our city are forced to choose between heating and eating. That is wrong, which is why it is great that the council is – yet again – tackling the problem.

“Too often, people do not know what to turn or what to do when it comes to cutting fuel bills. This finding from the Environment Centre helps deal with this vital gap.

“I am keen to make sure the council and other agencies in the city make our homes as energy efficient as possible. That is why I am looking forward to seeing the city’s first strategy to do just that soon.”

The additional funding comes shortly after the council launched its ‘energy and water at home strategy’ consultation, which focuses heavily on fuel poverty mitigation.

The council is currently working towards a 1st April launch when the new schemes will be operational. Residents will be referred into the additional support services after having an initial visit if deemed eligible.

Adam Goulden, Chief Executive of the Environment Centre said:

“We are delighted to have been awarded funding through the Redress Scheme and are looking forward to supporting Portsmouth City Council and the Fuel Poverty Action group as they work to tackle this hugely important issue.

We welcome the opportunity to be able to provide more intensive support to a greater number of vulnerable residents and help them stay warm and well in the homes.”

Residents will also be able to apply for the additional support through the council’s new energy and money saving website www.switchedonportsmouth.co.uk.

Energy Advice Drop-ins
Free energy advice drop-in sessions announced for January and February

Switched On Portsmouth, through Portsmouth City Council, will be hosting a number of drop-in sessions throughout January and February in order to help residents save energy and money in their homes. We will be providing expert advice, energy saving measures as well as information on a number of free schemes, from free gas central heating … Continued

Switched On Portsmouth, through Portsmouth City Council, will be hosting a number of drop-in sessions throughout January and February in order to help residents save energy and money in their homes. We will be providing expert advice, energy saving measures as well as information on a number of free schemes, from free gas central heating and installation to free home visits.

We will be visiting community centres, libraries and hubs across Portsmouth from the 8th January through to the 17th February. Drop in sessions are free to attend and are open to everyone.

Find your nearest drop in session below:

 

Council accepts Energy Efficiency award
Portsmouth City Council wins National Energy Efficiency Award for work helping vulnerable residents

Portsmouth City Council wins National Energy Efficiency Award for work helping vulnerable residents Portsmouth City Council’s in-house Energy Services team have received national recognition for its work mitigating fuel poverty and the provision of affordable energy for vulnerable residents.   The team also received a special commendation for the National Council of the Year award, … Continued

Portsmouth City Council wins National Energy Efficiency Award for work helping vulnerable residents

Portsmouth City Council’s in-house Energy Services team have received national recognition for its work mitigating fuel poverty and the provision of affordable energy for vulnerable residents.

 

The team also received a special commendation for the National Council of the Year award, having won the award for the South East region earlier in the year.

 

The National Social Responsibility Company of the Year award is presented to one UK organisation which is addressing the requirements of is community, whilst having a positive impact on society and the environment.

 

Fuel poverty affects 12.1% of all households in Portsmouth, specifically those who cannot afford to keep adequately warm at a reasonable cost. As a result, residents may be living in cold homes, which can affect physical and mental health, childhood attainment and lead to damp and mould issues in properties.

 

Since 2017, Portsmouth residents have been benefiting from award-winning fuel poverty mitigation initiatives run by the council’s Energy Services team. These include the Local Energy Advice Partnership (LEAP), Warmer Homes and the Emergency Boiler Replacement Scheme.

 

LEAP offers home-visits and energy advice to residents, whilst providing the most vulnerable with free energy efficiency measures such as LED light bulbs and TV standby plugs.

 

The Warmer Homes scheme offers eligible households a fully funded gas central heating system, and gas connection if required. The total value of the gas connection and the central heating system typically equates to £6,000.

 

These initiatives have saved vulnerable residents £937,373 to date. More than 1,000 homes have benefited from the provision of expert energy efficiency advice, while 1,500 fully-funded central heating systems have been made available for residents the Portsmouth area.

 

The team have also been recognised for industry-leading work around renewable energy generation.

 

Councillor Darren Sanders, the Council’s Cabinet Member for Housing said:

 

“We are thrilled that our expert in-house Energy Services team have again been recognised as the leading organisation in the United Kingdom when it comes to social responsibility.”

 

“It is great for the city that it has a service that is unmatched in the UK when it comes to their energy efficiency needs, offering brilliant energy and money saving initiatives”.

 

During the award presentation, judges referred to the winning organisation as having an “outstanding application” whilst acknowledging that they “work with multiple funding streams and partners to provide an excellent scheme”.

 

Portsmouth City Council will launch a brand new website, Switched On Portsmouth, this month which will provide residents with even more energy efficiency advice and better access to initiatives that will save them energy and money.

 

For information and advice from Portsmouth City Council on the help available to keep your energy bills low, your house warm and you and your family healthy, please click here.

Want to find out more?

If you have any questions about what you might be eligible for or if you just want to find out more about how we can help, just send us an email or give us a call