Gas hob, calculator and energy bills

Energy costs and help

There are steps you can take to save energy in your home and reduce costs. If you are concerned about bills and paying your rent, it’s important you contact us – we are here to help.

We have been required by law to produce an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) for any homes we have built or re-let since 1 October 2008.

An EPC lasts for 10 years and gives a property a rating from A-G based on its energy efficiency and carbon dioxide emissions – A being the most efficient and G the least.

Nationally, the typical rating for a home is D or E. Around 70% of our homes are rated B or C and the remaining 30% D or E.

You can also check your home’s EPC rating on the Simple Energy Advice website.

  • Saving energy
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    The best way to make your home warmer without turning the heat up is to stop the heat escaping – this will also save you money on your fuel bills too.

    To help prevent heat loss:

    • Use draught excluders on your door and window frames.
    • Fit brush seals to your letterbox and the bottom of doors.
      (Before installing either of the above measures, please Ask for permission)
    • Fill gaps between floorboards and skirting boards.
    • Close your curtains when it’s getting dark – but try not to pull them across your radiators.
    • Put foil behind any radiators fitted against an outside wall (kitchen foil will do or you can buy specially designed foil from DIY stores).
    • Fit shelves above your radiators to direct the heat into the room.

    There is lots more advice and information available online. See:

  • Struggling to pay your energy bills?
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    If you’re struggling to afford your gas and electricity bills, contact your supplier at the earliest opportunity.

    Your supplier must help you come to a solution. You should try to negotiate a deal that works for both of you. If you don’t try to negotiate with your supplier, they might threaten to disconnect your supply.

    There are a range of options that suppliers should offer, no matter how you pay for your energy, to allow you more time to pay and access to hardship funds if needed. This is all done on a case-by-case basis – the important thing is that you contact your supplier as soon as possible.

    The Citizens Advice website has lots of useful information including:

    • What to do if you are struggling to pay your energy bills
    • Grants and benefits to help you pay your energy bills (including winter fuel payment, cold weather payments, warm home discount scheme)
    • How to switch energy supplier
    • Plus much, much more.

    For more information see: Citizens Advice - Your energy supply

    Are you disabled?

    Scope also offer free energy advice to disabled people, helping you to manage your energy needs. The service is open to any disabled person or households where one or more disabled person lives.

    For more information see:

  • If your energy bill has gone up considerably
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    1. Compare your energy bills and consider switching supplier

    If your energy bill has risen dramatically, review your previous energy bills in the first instance to see if it’s your energy consumption that has increased or if your supplier has increased their charges.

    You can do this by comparing:

    • The amount of energy you use each month (don’t forget that your winter bills are likely to be higher than those in the summer months as heating, lighting etc will be being used more); and
    • The unit costs of your gas and/or electric supplier.

    If you find that your supplier has increased their charges, you may find you can get a better price elsewhere.

    To find out more about comparing suppliers and how to switch to another supplier, see:

    2. Contact your energy supplier

    Speak to your energy supplier – sometimes they can help to pinpoint what’s causing the increase in your electricity usage. It may be that you’re no longer on the best tariff, the meter has been misread or, if a meter reading hasn’t been given, an estimate has been taken instead.

    If you see that your bill has been estimated, check your meter. If you can see a lower number than the figure on your bill, get in touch with your supplier. With a more accurate reading, they may well re-issue (and possibly reduce) your bill.

    Can Cottsway do anything to help?

    We carry out a free annual gas service in all our rented properties to make sure the heating and appliances are safe and working correctly. We also carry out electrical testing every five years to ensure wiring is safe and working correctly.

    The first thing you should do if your energy bills have increased considerably is follow the advice above and contact your energy supplier.

    If you feel that there may be an issue with your heating system or power supply, you can contact us. We may ask you to send us up to 12 months of energy bills and will review the information provided.

    For more information see:

  • If your energy supplier goes out of business
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    You’ll still have gas and electricity if your energy supplier goes out of business. 

    The gas and electricity regulator, Ofgem, will move you to a new supplier. This usually takes a few weeks.

    Don’t switch tariff or supplier until your account is moved to the new supplier. You might find it harder to get any money you’re owed if you switch before this happens.

    For more information see:

  • Air source heating
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    We are working to raise the energy performance of our existing homes, improve sustainability and introduce renewable energy where possible.

    Where suitable, we are offering air source heating as a heating system replacement. Modern systems are well-established and effective for home heating and they use substantially less electricity than all-electric heating.

    For more information, see the:

  • Oil heating replacement
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    We are in the process of removing all oil heating from our rented homes following a review which identified a number of risks.

    For more information, see:

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