For residents worried about paying their gas and electricity bills due to the ongoing impact of COVID-19 and rising prices, help is available from Watford Borough Council...
For residents worried about paying their gas and electricity bills due to the ongoing impact of COVID-19 and rising prices, help is available from Watford Borough Council through their grant and loan schemes to improve energy efficiency in homes.
Households are understandably concerned about the rising costs, with the global problem reflecting an increased demand across the world, as economies reopen and recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. To help householders save energy and money, improve the use of energy in buildings and help tackle fuel poverty, there are various schemes and initiatives in Watford and the UK which support residents:
- Grant and loan schemes - Watford Borough Council has Green Homes Grant government funding for energy improvements. Funding depends on household income and the homes energy efficiency, but the council is still offering grants, subsidies and loans to all homes needing energy improvements. Work includes external wall insulation, air source heat pumps, solar panels, loft and underfloor insulation.
- Impartial advice from local charity - There are different rules and qualification criteria and our partners at Better Housing Better Health can help you apply for the most suitable energy improvements to your home.
- Support from energy regulator Ofgem - No matter who your supplier is, householders can be rest assured that even if they leave the market, there is an established process in place to ensure that your electricity and gas will stay on. It means the energy regulator Ofgem will find another supplier to provide you with energy and your credit balance will move with you.
- Energy Price Cap - Customers of failed suppliers who are switched to a new supplier are protected by the Energy Price Cap. This is a government scheme which protects millions of people from sudden increases in global gas prices and limits the amount an energy supplier can charge those on default or standard variable rates. Suppliers cannot charge customers of failed suppliers more than the level of the price cap.
In the first phase of the Green Homes Grant scheme, Watford Borough Council have been working in close partnership with local housing association, Watford Community Housing, to upgrade a large number of their properties at the Harebreaks, with significant financial and health benefits for their tenants. Other privately owned properties have already benefited within the Kingswood and Leavesden Road area, with assistance is now available across the whole of Watford. It is expected that 200 households in total will be supported by the scheme by the end of 2022.
The council’s energy-efficiency insulation projects were recently recognised as being one of the best-performing councils in the region, after receiving ‘Highly Commended’ status in the ‘Regional Council or Local Authority Body of the Year’ category at the Energy Efficiency Awards (24 September 2021). You can find out more at www.watford.gov.uk/sustainablewatford.