Guest blog: BEN Getting Ready for Winter

14 Nov, 2023
Our friends and Community Climate Action partners at Bristol Energy Network (BEN) have put together this handy guide to reduce energy bills and energy usage.

Our friends and Community Climate Action partners at Bristol Energy Network (BEN) have put together this handy guide as a reminder about what to do this winter to reduce energy bills and energy usage.

The Energy Price Cap (the amount of money that a company can charge you for electricity and gas) has fallen which is good news but last year we were paying an artificially lower amount for our energy because the government put protections in place for householders. And this year we’re not going to get the £400 (£67/month) energy support we got last year.

In the end, bills will be slightly cheaper, however, it will still be an expensive winter.

If you use prepayment meters and haven’t topped up much over the summer, the standing charge will come off in one go when you top up. For example from 1st June to 1st October that would be £36 for Gas and £72 for electricity in Bristol so make sure you know it’s coming if you haven’t topped up for a while.

If you or anyone in your household is considered vulnerable due to age, medical needs, disabilities, mental health or accessibility needs you can register for the Priority Services Register with both National Grid and your energy company. Give them a call or register online to let them know you might need some extra support.


Do a benefits check to see if you are missing out on any support you are entitled to:

  1. There is 1 more cost of living payments due of £300 – Spring 24 for those in receipt of benefits
  2. The Warm Homes Discount is £150 off your electricity bills for those on low income or certain benefits. Your energy company will send a letter if you are eligible and automatically credit your account
  3. Cold weather payments. If it gets below 0’C for 7 days in a row then those in receipt of benefits should get an extra £25 for that week.
  4. Winter Fuel Payment: If you were born before 25 September 1957 you could get between £250 and £600 to help you pay your heating bills. Automatic, you do not need to apply.

Reduce your home energy use. The top three biggest savings you can make are:

  1. Making sure you’ve got all LED bulbs at home
  2. Turn down the flow temperature on your boiler to 60’C (or even 50’C).
  3. Taking shorter showers.

Basic draughtproofing:

  1. Check around your home for cracks and holes – around doors and windows and in floors and walls- use filler (putty or powdered) to fill them.
  2. Don’t forget about skirting boards – cold air likes to come up through there – you can use builders caulk to fix those gaps
  3. Put draught proofing/ insulation tape around your window frames so they shut tight and keep the cold out
  4. Consider putting in temporary plastic windows to act as secondary glazing or try the glazing film, it’s cheap and blocks out the draughts
  5. Heavy curtains behind doors to the outside and draught excluders along the bottom- you can make one from old trouser legs or tights and stuff it with old plastic or rags
  6. If you don’t have carpets then put down extra rugs.
  7. Don’t forget- once you block out all the draughts you still need some controlled ventilation to keep the place dry and mould free. If you have extractor fans in the kitchen and bathroom- put them on and don’t worry about running them for a long time. They cost pennies to run and they do a very important job.

Some online videos we recommend to help…

Find out more and get involved

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