Here2Help - energy and fuel

In response to the challenges which continue to cause difficulties for many households, there is a range of advice and help available to keep your home warm, reduce your energy usage and save you money.

It is important to regularly put your heating on to stop your pipes from freezing and because it can be more expensive to keep starting up and stopping your heating. Here are some tips from Act On Energy that can help to make your home as warm as possible, whilst reducing your energy use and saving money:

  1. Turn your thermostat down by 1 degree. Most people will not notice the difference – and an extra jumper can always help. The ideal room temperature is 18-21 degrees but do consider if this is warm enough for anyone who has a vulnerability. This could save you up to 10% a year on your bill.
  2. Set your timer to come on 15-30 minutes before you need it and switch off 30 minutes before you leave or go to bed.
  3. Switch to low energy lightbulbs. LEDs use about 90% less energy than standard bulbs. They are more expense to buy – but last up to 12 times longer. Turning off lights in rooms when you do not need them could save about £25 a year.
  4. Wash your clothes on the lowest heat setting. 90% of a washing machine’s energy is used to heat up the water. Reducing your number of washes by one cycle a week will save about £34 a year. Tumble dryers use a lot of energy so whenever possible dry your clothes outside on a line.
  5. Switch appliances off ‘stand-by’ – this could typically save about £65 a year.
  6. Insulate a hot water tank – it will pay for itself within 6 months.
  7. Reduce your shower time – it is easy to lose track of time so try setting an alarm for 3-4 minutes. You could save about £95 a year.
  8. Thick curtains help to keep the heat in. Keep them tucked behind radiators and pull them at dusk to avoid heat escaping through glass.
  9. Draught proof your home – check doors, letterboxes, windows, loft hatches and floorboards. Move furniture away from radiators to let warm air circulate.
  10. Be savvy in the kitchen – only boil the amount of water you need when you need it. When filling the kettle like this you could save £13 a year. Keep a lid on it – trap the heat in your saucepan. Use the dishwasher only when it is full – and reducing use by one cycle a week could save £17 a year. Turn the oven off a few minutes’ earlier and use residual heat to finish cooking. Using a microwave will also be cheaper than using the oven. Defrost your fridge and freezer regularly for maximum efficiency (and while we’ve got you…keeping a fridge or freezer door open for just a minute means it’ll take three minutes to cool down again)

Did you know...

Through a free collaboration between the government and Amazon, anyone asking Alexa how to reduce their energy bill will now receive the latest government advice on preparing their home for winter and using less energy in the long-term - which could save at least £100 a year.

Phrases which will prompt Alexa include “Alexa, give me some energy saving tips”, “Alexa, give me tips to conserve energy” and “Alexa, give me tips to get ready for winter”.

We know that the rise in energy costs has left many people worried, but there is help available. Solihull Council has teamed up with local energy experts to help you reduce your energy bills and make your home warmer and more energy efficient.

Subject to funding and eligibility criteria, Act on Energy can provide help to eligible Solihull residents, this includes:

  • Energy advice and tips
  • Free energy vouchers
  • Energy bill payments
  • Energy debt relief
  • Free repairs/replacement of broken heating systems
  • Home improvements such as insulation, windows and doors and renewable, clean heating

For advice and support please ring the free Act on Energy advice line on 0800 988 2881, 9am – 5pm Monday to Friday, or email

Contact your supplier if you are struggling to pay your bill or you are in debt. The earlier you contact them, the better. They can help with debt payment plans and help you with managing your ongoing payments. Some also have hardship funds to help people.

Price Cap explained. From 1 October 2023, the Energy Price Cap fell by about 7% compared with prices over the summer. But many people won’t necessarily feel the difference as the Energy Bills Support Scheme (the £400 payment made to all householders last winter) isn’t planned for this year. A typical bill is now around £1834 a year and is predicted to rise again in January. Please remember that the price cap does not limit what the maximum bill could be – it caps the unit rates not the overall charge. So the more you use the more you’ll pay. That’s why it’s so important to make sure that your home is as energy efficient as possible, so that you can still enjoy a comfortable temperature.

The price cap is only applicable to those on a standard tariff – if you have a special off-peak tariff for example or a fixed tariff your prices will be listed on your bill.

Pre-Payment meters. New rules around pre-payment meters are being made. It tightens up the ‘rules’ on when and how pre-payment meters can be involuntarily fitted. The prices on pre-payment meters have also been levelled to Direct Debit rates so it is no longer the case that there is a premium to pay. However, please remember that you may be ‘paying more’ overall because you are repaying a debt. Please call Act on Energy for more advice if you are concerned about pre-payment meters.

Solihull Council is taking part in the Big Community Switch to help Solihull residents save money on their fuel bills while switching their energy provider.

The Big Community Switch – which used to be called Solihull Switch ‘n’ Save - finds cheaper gas and electricity bills for people by using the power of collective bargaining with energy suppliers. Auctions are run several times per year.

Visit the website to register your interest

Solihull Council and Act on Energy are working together to help you reduce your energy bills and make your home warmer and more energy efficient.

Solihull Council has received government funding to pay for energy efficiency measures for eligible households. Depending on the type of fuel you use to heat your home and your property type, you could have energy efficiency and/or clean heat measures installed. All grants are subject to eligibility criteria, funding availability and technical surveys.

You may be eligible if you meet all the following criteria:

  • If you own the home you live in
  • If your property is not connected to the mains gas network for heating
  • If your home has an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) of rating D, E, F or G. You can check yours online at We can provide you with a free EPC assessment if you haven’t got a valid one
  • If your combined annual household income is under £36,000 (gross)

Get in touch now! 0800 988 2881

You can also check the energy efficiency grants page to find more opportunities that you might be eligible for, including “ECO”.