Energy Advice

Our water, gas and electricity bills are a major part of our monthly spend. You may have concerns about the amount you pay or confused about the tariffs offered by providers. The following section provides information on finding out who your supplier is and also about how to change supplier.

If you are in arrears with your gas, water or electricity bills, you will get further information what to do from our DEBT section

1. MOVING HOME

This information is useful if you have recently moved house and need to find out who supplies your gas and/or electricity. There is also a link to explain what you need to do if you are moving home.

Finding out who your gas or electricity supplier is

If you move into a new home or have lost your paperwork, you might not know who supplies the gas and electricity to your home. The link below explains how you can find out who supplies the gas and electricity to your home.

Find out more information here
Source: Citizens Advice

Getting your home connected to a gas or electricity supply

If you've moved into a new home and the electricity or gas doesn't work, it's possible you'll need to get the property connected to a gas or electricity supply.

Find out more information here.
Source: Citizens Advice

Moving home – gas and electricity supplies

This link explains what you need to do to get a final bill from your old home and take over the gas or electricity supply when you move into a new home.

Find out more information here
Source: Citizens Advice

Moving Home- your water supply

Find out information on how to pay your bill, save money and water with a meter and how to change your address online here
Source: Northumbria Water Limited

2. ENERGY BILLS GENERALLY

These links explain about energy contracts what should appear on your gas electricity and water bills and who is responsible for paying the bills.

ENERGY CONTRACTS EXPLAINED

There are different types of contracts for the supply of electricity and gas. These are also called energy tariffs. This link explains the different kinds of energy supply tariffs that are available.

Find out more information here
Source: Citizens Advice

YOUR WATER BILLS

In this section you can find out more about your water bill, whether you have a meter or not.

Find out more information here
Source: OFWAT

UNDERSTANDING YOUR ENERGY BILL

Use this tool to get an explanation of the different parts of your gas or electricity bill.

Click here to access the tool.
Source:Citizens Advice

WHO IS RESPONSIBLE FOR PAYING THE GAS AND ELECTRICITY BILLS?

You're responsible for paying the gas and electricity bills at your property if you asked for a supply. You can also be responsible for the bill, even if you're not named on it. The link below explains more about when you're responsible for paying the energy bills at your home.

Find out more information here
Source: Citizens Advice

WHO IS RESPONSIBLE FOR PAYING A WATER BILL?

To find out information on who is responsible for paying a water bill, click here
Source: Citizens Advice

PAYING YOUR WATER BILLS IF YOU'RE A TENANT

Read this link to find out more about the kind of issues you may have in paying for water if you're a tenant.

Find out more information here
Source: Citizens Advice

WAYS TO PAY YOUR WATER BILL

Northumbria Water Limited offers a wide range of ways to pay and to help you plan your budget.

To read an explanation on the different methods available, click here
Source: Northumbria Water Limited

PAYING YOUR LANDLORD FOR ENERGY

If you are a tenant in a rented property, your landlord might charge you for gas and electricity. This link explains when a landlord can charge a tenant for gas and electricity and the rules landlords have to follow. This information does not apply if the cost of energy is included in your rent or if you pay the energy supplier directly.

Find out more information here
Source: Citizens Advice

3. YOUR ENERGY METER

This section explains how you should read your gas, electricity and water meters.

How to read your gas and electricity meter

Your gas or electricity meter records how much energy you’ve used. Your energy supplier will need this when calculating your bill - if they don’t have it, they’ll estimate your usage, meaning your bill might be too high or low.

Find out more information here
Source: Citizens Advice

Check if your energy meter is faulty

Meter faults are rare. But there could be a problem with your meter if you’ve received a higher bill than usual or a bill you weren’t expecting. Your supplier is responsible for making sure your meter works properly.

Find out more information here.
Source: Citizens Advice

Getting a smart meter installed

Smart meters are a new kind of gas and electricity meter being introduced across Britain as part of a government scheme. A smart meter can automatically send daily meter readings to your supplier, meaning they can bill you accurately for the energy you’ve used.

To find out more information click here.
Source: Citizens Advice

Locating and reading your water meter

The link below contains a link explains where your water meter is located and how to understand and read the information displayed.

Find out more information here
Source: Northumbria Water Limited

4. PAYING YOUR ENERGY BILLS

This section contains information on the different ways you can pay your bills including prepayment meters for gas and electricity and what to do if you have run out of credit. There is also information if you pay your energy bills through your landlord. If you are in arrears with your bills please visit our DEBT section.

DIRECT DEBIT - YOUR SUPPLIER INCREASES THE PAYMENTS

If you pay for your gas or electricity by direct debit, the payments will usually be based on an estimate of the amount of energy you’ll use over a year.Your payments will increase if you use more energy than the supplier has estimated. You might also have to pay for the extra energy you used.

Find out more information here
Source: Citizens Advice

PREPAYMENT METERS - PAYING FOR ENERGY

A prepayment meter allows you to pay as you go for energy but it's also usually the most expensive way to pay. The link below explains how pre-payment meters work and the benefits and drawbacks of paying for your energy this way.

Find out more information here
Source: Citizens Advice

5. SAVING MONEY

This section gives useful links on how to save money. There are also useful videos and calculators under 'helpful tools' below. 

WHERE TO START SAVING ENERGY

Take action now to save energy, reduce bills and help the environment. Get started on energy-saving, whether it's changing your habits or improving your home and find out what you can do today, tomorrow and in the future to reduce your energy consumption at home.

Find out more information here
Source: Energy Saving Trust

CHOOSING APPLIANCES BY ENERGY RATINGS

When trying to save energy, it is best to look for the product with the best energy rating for the size you require. The link below gives information on how to save money through what you buy.

Find out more information here
Source: Energy Saving Trust

IMPROVING YOUR HOME

This link covers a range of energy saving ideas to make in the home including information on saving water, home insulation, smart meters and energy efficient lighting.

Find out more information here
Source: Energy Saving Trust

REDUCING YOUR WATER BILLS

Saving water can reduce your water bill (if you’re on a water meter), reduce your energy use and bills. 

Find out more information here
Source: Energy Saving Trust

WATER SAVING KIT: NORTHUMBRIA WATER LIMITED

The free water saving kit provides you with a variety of water saving devices that will reduce your utility bills and help you to reduce your water consumption by as much as 95 litres per day.

Find out more information here
Source: Northumbria Water Limited

6. PROBLEMS WITH YOUR ENERGY BILLS

This section provides links that explain your rights and options with energy bill problems, including unexpectedly large bills and when your account is in credit.

YOUR ENERGY BILL SEEMS TOO HIGH OR TOO LOW

If you've received a bill that doesn't seem quite right - for example, because it seems too low or too high - there could be a number of reasons why.

Find out more information here
Source: Citizens Advice

CAN YOUR ENERGY SUPPLIER PUT UP ITS PRICES?

If your gas or electricity supplier increases its prices, they should usually tell you at least 30 days before the change takes place.

Find out more information here
Source: Citizens Advice

IF YOU THINK YOUR ENERGY METER IS FAULTY

Meter faults are rare. But if your energy bill is much higher than usual and you can't find another reason for this, you may want to check whether there's something wrong with the meter. The link below explains what you should do if you think your meter is faulty. 

Find out more information here
Source: Citizens Advice

YOU HAVEN'T HAD AN ENERGY BILL FOR A WHILE

There are rules about what energy companies should do if they haven’t sent you a bill for a long time. The link below explains what you should do if you haven’t received a gas or electricity bill for a long time.

Find out more information here
Source: Citizens Advice

YOUR GAS OR ELECTRICITY ACCOUNT IS IN CREDIT

Check if a previous energy supplier owes you money

When you switch energy suppliers or move house, your supplier should refund any credit remaining on your account. This is money you’ve paid to them in advance for energy you didn’t eventually use.

Find out more information here.
Source: Citizens Advice 

Claim back credit from your current supplier

If you find your account is in credit, you might be able to claim a refund. The link below explains your options if you find your energy account is in credit.

Find out more information here
Source: Citizens Advice

YOUR ENERGY SUPPLIER HAS INCREASED YOUR DIRECT DEBIT PAYMENTS

If you use more energy than the supplier estimates, you may find that your monthly direct debit payment is increased. This link explains your rights and options if your energy supplier increases your direct debit payments.

Find out more information here
Source: Citizens Advice

7. PROBLEMS WITH YOUR SUPPLY

No water or poor pressure

If you’ve got no water or low pressure, check the information on this link as this may help you resolve the issue yourself.

Find out more information here
Source: Northumbria Water Limited

Compensation if you have a power cut

You might be able to claim compensation if the electricity or gas supply to your home goes off.

Find out more information here
Source: Citizens Advice

8. CHOOSING AND SWITCHING SUPPLIER

These links guide you through how to choose and switch supplier, including useful information on how to compare prices. There are also links to information on what to do if things go wrong with switching.

SWITCHING GAS OR ELECTRICITY SUPPLIER

The link below covers the basics about switching and what you should consider before switching supplier. 

Find out more information here
Source: Citizens Advice

GO ENERGY SHOPPING

This handy guide makes finding the best deal on your gas and electricity easier. It includes information on making sense of your current energy bill, comparing energy tariffs across suppliers and helps you find Ofgem accredited price comparison sites.

Find out more information here
Source: Ofgem

THE ENERGY COMPANY WON'T SUPPLY YOU WITHOUT FINANCIAL SECURITY

The link below explains your options if your energy supplier insists on suitable financial security, such as a guarantor or deposit, before it agrees to supply you.

Find out more information here
Source: Citizens Advice

 

CAN YOU SWITCH GAS OR ELECTRICITY SUPPLIER IF YOU'RE A TENANT?

This link explains your rights and options if you want to switch gas or electricity supplier and you are a tenant.

Find out more information here
Source: Citizens Advice

SWITCHING SUPPLIERS WHEN YOU ARE IN DEBT

Whether you can switch supplier if you’re in debt to your gas or electricity supplier depends on how long you’ve owed the money.

Find out more information here
Source: Citizens Advice

YOU'VE BEEN SWITCHED TO A NEW GAS OR ELECTRICITY SUPPLIER WITHOUT YOUR CONSENT

Sometimes a customer is switched to a new energy supplier without their consent. This is known as an erroneous transfer. This link explains what to do if you find out you’ve been switched to a new energy supplier without your knowledge or consent.

Find out more information here
Source: Citizens Advice

YOU'VE CHANGED YOUR MIND ABOUT SWITCHING GAS OR ELECTRICITY SUPPLIERS

The link below explains what your rights and options are if you change your mind after choosing a new gas or electricity supplier.

Find out more information here
Source: Citizens Advice

9. HELP IF YOU'RE OLDER, DISABLED OR ON A LOW INCOME

These links outline the different schemes to help, including the Winter Fuel Payment and Priority Services Register, and explain who can access them. You may also get additional information from our BENEFITS and GRANTS ASSISTANCE sections.

Warmer Homes Healthy People

Warm Homes Healthy People in Stockton-on-Tees has been set up to give support to people whose health makes them vulnerable to cold weather.

Find out more information here
Source: Stockton Borough Council

What is the Priority Services Register?

If you are a pensioner, have long-term ill health, are registered disabled or have a hearing or visual impairment, you may be eligible for extra help offered by energy suppliers. The link below explains what the Priority Services Register is, who is eligible and how to be listed on it.

Find out more information here
Source: Citizens Advice

Extra Help from Northumbria Water Limited

The link below explains the additional help that is available if you have a medical condition or are visually impaired or deaf. This includes information on how to receive bills in Braille, large print or on audio cassette. This is also information on how to register.

Find out more information here
Source: Northumbria Water Limited

10. ENERGY MIS-SELLING AND SCAMS

 

Bogus Energy Sales People

Some of the common tricks used by bogus energy sales people so you can protect yourself from being misled into signing an energy supply contract that you don’t want.

Click here for more information.
Source: Citizens Advice

If you’ve been offered a gadget to save energy

Rising costs of gas and electricity mean many people are looking for ways to reduce their bills. Some people have been targeted by people offering to sell bogus energy-saving devices. In many cases these do not save energy and are unsafe.

Read more here.
Source: Citizens Advice

If someone tries to sell you a prepayment meter top-up at the door

Criminal gangs are illegally offering prepayment meter top-ups on the doorstep. This is a scam which will end up with you paying twice for your energy.

Click here to read more

Source: Citizens Advice

11. COMPLAINTS

This section explains how complain to an energy company and what you can do if you’re not happy with their response. It also outlines your rights to compensation under the Guaranteed Standards Scheme. You will find useful sample letters under our 'helpful tools' section below. 

GUARANTEED STANDARDS FOR GAS AND ELECTRICITY COMPANIES

Guaranteed standards for gas and electricity companies

All gas and electricity companies are required by law to meet minimum levels of service for every customer, known as Guaranteed Standards. If the energy companies fail to meet these standards, there is an agreed level of compensation they should pay you. The link below explains the key Guaranteed Standards for energy suppliers, gas transporters.

Find out more information here
Source: Citizens Advice

HOW TO COMPLAIN TO YOUR ENERGY SUPPLIER (1)

You should complain to your supplier if you’re unhappy with the way you’ve been treated or you want to dispute a bill.

Find out more information here
Source: Citizens Advice

WHEN CAN YOU COMPLAIN TO THE ENERGY OMBUDSMAN?

For an explanation of when you can complain to the ombudsman and how to go about it click here 
Source: Citizens Advice

COMPLAINING TO THE ENERGY OMBUDSMAN ONLINE

For the link that takes you directly to the Energy Ombudsman site and allows you to enter a complaint online, click here
Source: Energy Ombudsman

COMPLAINING ABOUT YOUR WATER COMPANY

You may have a complaint about your water bill, water supply or the standard of service you've received from your water company.
Click the link below to find out how to go about making a complaint to your water company and what you can do if you're not happy with their response.

Find out more information here
Source: Citizens Advice

12. HELPFUL TOOLS

We have provided a variety of tools below to help you with your problem but if you still need help, you can click on FIND LOCAL AGENCIES WHO CAN HELP YOU for information about local agencies who may be able to assist you further.

Please click the links below to be taken to your desired section.

FAQS

FAQs about Switching can be found here
Source: OFGEM

FAQs about energy can be found here (an A-Z of commonly asked questions and answers).
Source: OFGEM

VIDEOS

Cutting Energy Bills

BBC animated guide to cutting energy bills at home.

Watch the video here
Source: BBC

Energy Best Deal videos

A series of short films which show how you can reduce your energy costs and what help is available from both suppliers and Government if you are struggling to pay your energy bills.

Watch the video here
Source: Citizens Advice and Ofgem

Switching Supplier video

It’s getting easier to get a better deal on your energy – find out more in this 60 second film.

Watch the video here
Source: OFGEM

Extra Help from Northumbria Water Limited

This video contains information about the services Northumbria Water Limited offer which are free of charge to their customers.

Watch the video here
Source: Northumbria Water Limited

Locating and reading your water meter

This short video explains where your water meter is located and how to understand and read the information displayed

Watch the video here
Source: Northumbria Water Limited

CALCULATORS

The Home Energy Check

Use this Home Energy Check to find out how you can achieve lower energy bills and a more comfortable home. How much could you save?

Find out more information here
Source: Energy Savings Trust

Water Energy Calculator

Take a tour through our virtual home and answer the quick and easy questions to find out how much water and energy your household uses.

Find out more information here
Source: Energy Savings Trust

SAMPLE LETTERS

Letter to complain to your energy supplier

If you're having issues with your energy supplier, you can put your complaint in writing using this example template letter.

Click here to access the letter
Source: Citizens Advice

 

LEAFLETS

Energy Best Deal Booklet 2013-14

The Energy Best Deal programme seeks to inform domestic energy consumers about how they could reduce their energy costs: by changing tariff, payment method and/or supplier, taking up energy efficiency measures and by providing debt advice.

Find out more information here
Source: OFGEM and Citizens Advice

Complaints against Gas and Electricity suppliers

Advice and help for domestic consumers regarding complaints and enquiries can be found here
Source: OFGEM

Consumer Council for Water leaflets on water supply

General leaflets which can be downloaded or printed off can be found here
Source: Consumer Council for Water

 

NATIONAL HELPLINES

Citizens Advice

Advice by phone is available from Citizens Advice Bureaux 
Telephone: 0344 2451295

Saving energy at home

For free and impartial advice on how to save energy in your home, contact the Energy Saving Advice Service
Telephone 0300 123 1234

Energy Advice: Debt Advice Within Northumberland

Our Energy Advice Project is funded by the British Gas Energy Trust and is dedicated to help combat fuel poverty. We can help anybody regardless of who supplies your gas or electricity.
Telephone: 0300 303 1931 Option 4

The Home Heat Helpline

The Home Heat Helpline is a service for vulnerable customers struggling to pay their bills. It is funded by the energy suppliers, and provides information on grants, payment schemes and benefits that may be available as well as basic advice about energy efficiency.
Telephone: 0800 336699 (freephone)

WEBSITES USED IN THIS SECTION

Citizens Advice

The Adviceguide website is the main public information service of Citizens Advice, providing people with round-the-clock access to CAB information on their rights - including benefits, housing and employment, and on debt, consumer and legal issues.
www.adviceguide.org.uk

Consumer Council for Water (CC Water)

CCWater is an independent consumer organisation which deals with complaints about water companies.
www.ccwater.org.uk

Energy Ombudsman

We are approved by Ofgem, the UK gas and electricity regulator, to assist with complaints. The ombudsman is entirely independent.
www.ombudsman-services.org

Energy Savings Trust

Energy Saving Trust helps householders, governments, businesses and organisations save energy.
www.energysavingtrust.org.uk

Northumbrian Water

Northumbrian Water Limited is a member of Northumbrian Water Group (NWG). The sole water supplier for the North East
www.nwl.co.uk

OFGEM

Ofgem is the Office of Gas and Electricity Markets. They are a non-ministerial government department and an independent National Regulatory Authority. Their principal objective is carrying out our functions to protect the interests of existing and future electricity and gas consumers.
www.ofgem.gov.uk

OFWAT

OFWAT, the water industry regulator. If a water company falls short of regulations or customers expectations they can take the action necessary to protect consumers’ interests, which may include legal steps such as enforcement action and fines
www.ofwat.gov.uk