Citizens Advice Winchester District and local climate change charity Winchester Action on Climate Change have teamed up to help people cut their energy bills this winter. They are looking for at least 200 people to benefit from this new partnership.

There are two ways to cut energy bills – to pay less for the energy you use, or to use less energy.

People may be able to pay less for the energy they use by switching to a different energy provider, or a new tariff or a new contract. Citizens Advice Winchester District’s Chief Officer Natalie Webb tested the ‘cheap energy club’ tool on moneysavingexpert.com  to make sure it would be useful. 

Natalie Webb tests out system

“I thought I may as well try it out for myself and see what it would mean for my home. I stand to save £189 per year and it only took me 9 minutes!” she reported. “It was so quick and easy, I would encourage everyone to follow my example and find out what you can save”, said Natalie. “And if you want any help with switching energy provider, or for any other advice needs you might have, just come and see us.” 

The Citizens Advice Winchester office is open Monday, Wednesday and Thursday 10am-4pm and on Tuesday, Friday 10am-1pm.The Citizens Advice Bishops Waltham office is open Monday, Wednesday and Friday 10am-2pm. Details of their outreach and evening opening times are on their website: www.winchesterdistrictcab.org.uk.

Of course, you also have less to pay if you use less energy in the first place. Winchester Action on Climate Change has loads of tips about how to save energy, save money and stay warm on their website winacc.org.uk under the heading “Home Energy”. 

“Just drawing your curtains as soon as it gets dark can make a difference”, said Andy Smale of Expert Energy who works with WinACC to provide energy advice. “You feel much warmer if you stop draughts coming under your door, round your windows, through the letter box and down the chimney”.

Other energy-saving tips are to set the thermostat on your hot water tank to 60 degrees, if you have a tank, to turn radiators down in rooms that aren’t being used, and to set the heating timer to go off half-an-hour before you leave the house or go to bed.

One of the Citizens Advice or WinACC energy advisors can visit vulnerable or housebound people at home to help them spend less on keeping warm. They can also give talks to local groups from societies to lunch clubs, bringing their leaflets and computers with them to help cut your bills.

They can also lend energy monitors so that people can see how much energy they are using, and whether it makes a difference if they switch things off. And WinACC's light-bulb display gives people the chance to see how well the latest LED bulbs perform. “Waiting for low-energy bulbs to warm up is a thing of the past”, said Chris Holloway, WinACC’s Co-Director, “And the latest LED bulbs save you even more money than the older low-energy types. You can even chose different shades of white, to get the colour effect that suits your home décor”.

The costs of this service are covered by Winchester City Council and the Government Big Energy Saving Network.