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 are planned for:

  • March
  • April
  • May

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 around held around The Bread and Butter Thing food service.

Session details
Location Time Day Date
Skerne Park Youth & Community Centre, DL1 5AN 10:45am-12:30pm Mondays 21 March, 4 April, 25 April, 9 May
Corporation Road Primary School, DL3 6AD 1:30 – 3:15pm Wednesdays 23 March, 6 April, 27 April, 11 May
Red Hall Primary School, Headingley Crescent, DL1 2ST 12:45 – 2:30pm Thursdays 24 March, 7 April, 28 April, 12 May
Firthmoor Community Centre, Burnside Road, DL1 4SU 12:45 – 2:30pm Fridays 25 March, 8 April, 29 April, 13 May
Elim Pentecostal Church, Bowman Street, DL3 OHE 1:30 – 3:15pm Mondays 28 March, 11 April, 2 May, 16 May
Windsor Court, Newton Lane, DL3 9HF 12:45 – 2:15pm Tuesdays 29 March, 12 April, 3 May, 17 May
Clocktower, South Park, DL1 5TD 10am -12 noon Wednesdays 30 March, 4 May
Eastbourne Community Hub, Eastbourne Park, DL1 4AY 1:15-2:45pm Thursdays 31 March, 14 April, 5 May, 19 May
Head of Steam Museum, Station Rd, DL3 6ST 10am -12 noon Wednesdays 13 April, 18 May

Virtual online sessions

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

Saturday 16 April from 9am until 12 noon using Zoom

Eventbrite booking

You can also contact Green Doctors to book a place:

Energy advice

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 November and March.
  • Warm Home Discount – a £140 discount for some people getting Pension Credit or some people in low-income households.

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.

This is referred to as the Help to Heat Flexible Eligibility Criteria.

We have set our own criteria.

It is aimed at those who are most likely to be:

  • in fuel poverty
  • with occupants on low incomes and vulnerable to the effects of cold homes, who otherwise would not be eligible.

Properties must be owner-occupied or privately rented.

Energy companies can deliver up to 25% of their full obligation within these criteria.

We will work with energy companies and their authorised installers to maximise the use of flexible eligibility.

Fitting within the Statement of Intent does not guarantee that any individual household will benefit from energy saving improvements.

The final decision will rest with the individual private sector suppliers, and this will depend on:

  • The survey carried out by the energy company, or their authorised installer and installation costs calculated.
  • The energy savings that can be achieved for a property
  • Whether energy companies have achieved their ECO targets or require further measures to meet their ECO targets.

The measures deliverable through ECO Flex are for example:

  • cavity wall insulation
  • loft insulation
  • inefficient heating replacements
  • solid wall insulation

Not all boilers or insulation measures are free of charge.

We recommend getting quotes from more than one company.

To access this funding, local authorities are obliged to publish a ‘Statement of Intent’.

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

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