Posts with tag: energy bills

Green Deal funding to end

Published On: July 24, 2015 at 10:08 am


Categories: Finance News

Tags: ,,

The Government has today announced that it is to stop funding the Green Deal Finance Company. As a result, it will also prevent any future funding releases of the Green Deal Home Improvement Fund.

In a statement from the Department of Energy and Climate Change, the Government said the reasons behind the move were low take-up and persisting concerns over the standards of the industry.

New policy

Amber Rudd, Energy and Climate Change Secretary, said, ‘we are on the side of hardworking families and businesses-which is why we cannot continue to fund the Green Deal. It’s now time for the building industry and consumer groups to work with us to make new policy and build a system that works.’[1]

Rudd believes that, ‘together we can achieve this Government’s ambition to make homes warmer and drive down bills for 1 million more homes by 2020-and to do so at the best value for money for taxpayers.’[2]

Pledging to work closely with the building industry and consumer groups, the Government feels that it will find another value for money approach. In addition, a review to be chaired by Peter Bonfield, has been commissioned to assess standards and enforcement of energy efficiency schemes.

Green Deal funding to end

Green Deal funding to end

‘Dead in the water’

Unsurprisingly, Julie Hirigoyen, chief executive of the UK Green Building Council was not pleased by the announcement. ‘With each passing day, this Government puts an end to another green policy’, she stated, before commenting that, ‘the Government’s strategy on dealing with high energy bills through home energy efficiency is now dead in the water.’[3]

‘While the Green Deal was by no means perfect, the principle of enabling households to install energy saving measures without paying upfront costs was sound. The irony is that the scheme was finally becoming established and the number of plans was growing,’ Hirigoyen continued.[4]

‘This is yet another announcement with no forewarning that will leave the energy efficiency industry battered and bruised,’ she concluded.[5]



Spring cleaning property can save money

Published On: May 1, 2015 at 9:40 am


Categories: Landlord News

Tags: ,,

With Summer fast approaching, landlords could be excused for thinking about beach-bodies and sun-tan lotion as opposed to broken boilers and large-energy bills. However, now is a great time for them to give their property a full Spring clean, in readiness for the Winter months.

Spring is arguably the best time of year to give all home appliances a full MOT, to help plan for avoidable costs and misdemeanours in six months time. Additionally, if things are discovered to be awry, homeowners can take their time to consider the best solution, with contractors subsequently having enough time to complete necessary work before the cold months arrive.

Furthermore, for larger work, such as replacing a boiler, this will be more cost-effective during warmer months and will negate the chance of having to go without heating in colder times. What’s more, demand for skilled traders is typically less in the summer months

Landlords must remember that a delay in providing heating repair can result in tenants legally withholding their deposit.

With this in mind, landlords should consider the following Spring cleaning tips to ensure that their property is in the best possible shape: 

  • Bleed all radiators

To make sure that all radiators are working efficiently, landlords should bleed them during the Spring months. If radiators have cold spots, there is air within the system, therefore they need to be bled to solve the issue.

Bleeding radiators can be achieved by turning the system off, then turning the radiator key until the air stops and water runs smoothly. On switching the system back on, the issue should have been resolved.

  • Exclude the draught

Landlords should ensure that all windows and doors within their property are sufficiently sealed to stop air getting out. Draught excluders are a great way of achieving this and can dramatically cut down on heating bills as a result.

  • Hear the alarm

Despite being common practice, landlords should make sure that smoke and carbon monoxide alarms are only fitted but are regularly tested.

Spring cleaning property can save money

Spring cleaning property can save money

  • Look after your boiler

During the warmer months landlords should check the efficiency of all boilers in their portfolio. Boilers should be at the correct pressure and should be topped up as necessary.

Hot water tanks should also be sufficiently wrapped so that all hot water is insulated. Materials to do this are readily available in most DIY stores and could be invaluable in saving landlords both heat and money.

  • Insulate

Cracked or broken pipes are a big problem in many UK homes during colder periods of the year. To help prevent this, landlords can make sure that their pipes are securely insulated by using pipe lagging, which again can be purchased from most DIY shops.

Landlords should also look at insulating both the loft and cavity walls of a property, if they are suitable and have not already been done.






£2.7bn Lost by Families not Changing Energy Supplier

Published On: February 16, 2015 at 10:34 am


Categories: Finance News

Tags: ,,,

Around 13.5m families in the UK are missing out on a total of £2.7 billion by not changing their energy supplier, according to data from the Department of Energy & Climate Change (DECC).1

It has been found that most households in Britain are overcharged and could save £200 if they shop around.

Experts reveal that insignificant price cuts from the Big Six Energy Suppliers are giving customers false optimism for their bills.

The £2.7 billion figure was reached after the DECC’s Domestic Fuel Inquiry collected information from customer tariffs. These numbers were then compared to data from sites that find the cheapest available deal.

These statistics have been released just as the Government introduces its new Power to Switch campaign, designed to encourage homeowners to change suppliers and find the best rate for them.

This all arrives as the Big Six receive criticism for ripping customers off and not providing the benefits of the fall in oil prices. Wholesale gas prices have dropped by about 20% since December; however, the Big Six have only cut prices of their standard gas tariffs by between 1.3-5.1%.1

£2.7bn Lost by Families not Changing Energy Supplier

£2.7bn Lost by Families not Changing Energy Supplier

Martin Lewis, money saving expert, says: “We need to shout loud about the benefits of switching tariff. Too many people think energy firms are all the same. That’s far from true, there are huge differences on both price and customer service.

“The worry is that news of recent price cuts, even though they were paltry, will have given many false confidence that they’re on a decent deal. Examine the figures and the ugly truth is very different.

“Even after price cuts, someone on a Big Six Supplier standard tariff with typical use will pay £1,158 a year, whereas switch to the cheapest tariff and they’d pay just over £900 a year.

“So it’s worth people taking ten minutes to see if they can save themselves £250, at an hourly rate of £1,500, if someone else was offering this to you as work would you turn it down?”1

Chief Customer Officer at First Utility, the largest independent energy provider, Ed Kamm, supports the campaign.

Kamm explains: “The Big Six’s recent price cuts gave savings of less than £30 to those customers on their standard variable tariffs, yet switching to the cheapest deals on the market could save you £260 on average.

“Whilst these price cuts hogged the headlines, there is a real danger that customers are being lulled into a false sense of security, thinking they are benefitting from a good deal when they simply aren’t.

“To put it bluntly, if you’re on a standard variable tariff with the Big Six, you’re paying too much, whether they have made a price cut or not. Energy prices are at their lowest point for four years or so now, but only for those who seek out the best deal, so we urge everyone to see if they can save.”1

Ed Davey, Energy & Climate Change Secretary, who launched the campaign, says: “When it comes to switching, the power is in people’s hands to get a better deal and save.”1

The campaign encourages people to visit and save money.

uSwitch’s Emma Bush, energy expert, says millions of families pay more than they should for energy: “DECC’s campaign to encourage households to shop around is to be welcomed.

“If more of us switched from expensive standard tariffs to cheaper deals, suppliers would work harder to attract and retain customers with lower prices and better customer service.

“This is why we have called on the Competition and Markets Authority to look at how to increase levels of consumer engagement in the market, as an essential way to boost competition and reduce bills.”1




Should Landlords Help to Reduce Tenants’ Energy Bills?

Published On: June 11, 2014 at 5:05 pm


Categories: Landlord News


The cost of utility bills can affect everyone, especially those in rented accommodation, who may fall into rental arrears if their bills are too expensive. Therefore, landlords  should help to reduce tenants energy bills and ensure that their tenants find the best deal out there.

Every landlord handles their tenants’ utility bills in different ways, often depending on the type of tenancy. For instance, student properties may benefit from the landlord paying the utility bills, as agreements are usually only for a year.

However, if a landlord is responsible for paying bills, it may be more difficult to solve any issues a tenant has with the gas or electricity. If problems are not solved quickly, tenants could claim that their landlord is being negligent.

Should Landlords Help to Reduce Tenants' Energy Bills?

Should Landlords Help to Reduce Tenants’ Energy Bills?

Whoever pays for utility bills is initially dependant on whether the energy supply is on when the tenant moves into the property. If they are turned on, then whoever is living within the home should technically pay the bills. Nevertheless, if the landlord’s name is on the bills, they are responsible. This issue is crucial if the property is in a void period.

At the beginning of a tenancy, it should be specified who is to pay the bills. Both have pros and cons:


  • If a tenant pays the bills, then there is less paperwork for the landlord to deal with. This could help the landlord if they are managing a large property portfolio.
  • Landlords may be able to choose the same gas and electricity deal from one supplier for all of their properties if they decide to pay. Therefore, they will always get the best deal.


  • If tenants cannot make a utility bill payment, the landlord may have to sort out the problem.
  • Tenants may have an issue with the supplier of their gas and electricity if the landlord takes responsibility, and the landlord will be accountable for sorting the matter.

Tenants will always want the cheapest offer available, and landlords can aid them by searching for the best deal. This could also avoid tenants falling into rent arrears. Landlords can research every year to confirm that the supplier is still providing a competitive service. It is important to remember, also, that some suppliers are more expensive, but include other benefits, such as boiler servicing.

Energy efficiency can also bring the cost of tenants’ utility bills down. It will also be a requirement of the Government that all private rented accommodation must have an energy efficiency rating of at least E by 2018. If a property does not, it will not be suitable for letting.

Fortunately, the Government’s Green Deal allows landlords to have renovation work on their properties to improve its energy efficiency for free. The repayments will be made through utility bills, and are thought to significantly reduce utility bill costs.