Fuel poverty and home energy saving

Improving home energy efficiency can help you to:

  • save money
  • enjoy a warmer home
  • reduce your impact on the environment

Energy awareness advice sessions

The sessions will offer advice on how to

  • reduce energy bills
  • make homes warmer by being more energy efficient
  • maximise income
  • how access grants and other support

Drop-in sessions

Planned for:

  • September
  • October
  • November

Delivered by the Green Doctor team, funded by Northern Power Grid.

These sessions are free and available to everyone with no booking required.

Many of the sessions will be held around The Bread and Butter Thing food service.

Virtual online sessions

The Green Doctor team are also offering a virtual online session.

You can also contact Green Doctors to book a place:

Energy advice

There is general advice on the National Energy Action website [external link]

Home energy checklist [pdf document].

There is general advice available on the Energy Saving Trust’s website [external link].

Specific energy advice in available on the Simple Energy Advice website [external link].

You can call Simple Energy on 0800 444 202.

 If you’re struggling to pay your energy bills, there are a few things that can help.

Government schemes are available, and you can switch your supplier.

You may also be eligible for discounts if you’re an older person or have a low income.

Your benefits will not be affected by these schemes if you are already claiming.

Information on heating-related benefits is available on the GOV.UK low-income page [external link].

Keeping warm in winter is available on the keep warm, keep well section on the NHS website [external link]

Government schemes

There are several Government schemes you may be able to apply for

Winter Fuel Payment

A £100 to £300 fuel payment for people born on or before 26 September 1955.

Cold Weather Payment

A £25 payment for every 7 days of very cold weather between 1 November to 31 March.

Warm Home Discount

A £150 off your electricity bill paid automatically to eligible customers.

Household Support Fund

Information is available on our Household Support Fund page.

Money, debt, and benefits

Start by working out which debts you need to deal with first.

Priority debts are ones that can cause serious problems if you can’t do anything about them.

They include things like your energy bills, rent or mortgage and council tax.

You can learn more about working out priority and other debts on the Citizens Advice website [external link].

Their budgeting tool [external link] can also help you manage your finances.

Breathing Space scheme

Breathing Space (sometimes called the 'Debt Respite Scheme') is a free government scheme.

It could give you up to 60 days' space from creditors to focus on getting debt advice and setting up a debt solution.

If you apply and are eligible, all creditors will be informed.

They must stop any collection or enforcement activity.

You'll still need to keep making your regular payments if you can afford to.

StepChange [external link] can help with applications.

For more information of managing debt see our money debts and benefits page.

Switch energy supplier

You could save on your gas and electricity bills each year by changing your supplier.

If you are private tenant, you don’t need your landlord’s permission to switch unless they pay your energy bills.

It is always best to let them know regardless.

Find out more information on Ofgem switching energy supplier [external link].

Energy-saving improvements

Make your home warmer and reduce your energy bills, by making energy efficient home improvements.

This also cuts emissions, which is better for the environment.

Energy Company Obligation (ECO) scheme

The scheme aims to help residents who are:

  • living in fuel poverty
  • on low income
  • vulnerable to the effects of living in a cold home

It is a government energy efficiency scheme.

It helps reduce carbon emissions and tackle fuel poverty.

The ECO scheme is led by the private sector, not the council.

You can find more information on the Simple Energy Advice website [external link].

ECO Flex

Local authorities can refer households to suppliers for support using a 'flexible eligibility' mechanism.

Local authorities are obliged to publish a ‘Statement of Intent’.

This scheme ended on 30 June 2022.

Darlington Flexible Eligibility - statement of intent ECOFLEX, update in March 2019[pdf document].

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