Martin Lewis is here to tell us how one free phone call can save you one thousand pounds...
Energy companies have been touting roughly £300 worth of free insulation, but our Money Saving Expert Martin Lewis says that’s about to end, so grab it NOW.
What’s the urgency here?
In recent times energy companies have had a Carbon Emissions Reduction Target (CERT) set by the Government, which means they must pump money into making homes more energy-efficient, especially for 'tough to reach' groups. If they miss targets, they face big fines.
Yet these targets end on 31 December - and some providers have already hit their objectives, meaning some schemes that were previously running have now closed.
The main way energy providers have focused on hitting their targets is to pump cash out there to fit cavity wall or loft insulation for free (especially targeting hard-to-reach groups). This is a huge boon as it can cost anything from £200-£700 to fit – and the insulation can then cut many people’s bills by £300/year.
What deals are left and can I get them?
Some deals have already closed, but there’s still just time to act. All of the following providers will fit cavity wall and/or loft insulation for free (some smaller firms do it too, although I’ve focused on the big energy companies). Yet you’re EXCLUDED if:
- You live in a housing association property or are a council tenant.
- You live in a flat and can't co-ordinate with all the other tenants.
- You already have insulation.
- Your home doesn’t have cavity walls, for example if it’s made from natural stone or concrete.
- Or, sadly, you live in Northern Ireland.
Deals available to everyone: Both British Gas and Scottish Power allow anyone, even non-customers to get free loft and cavity wall insulation. Yet British Gas is closing the scheme to new applicants on 30 November. Scottish Power’s offer is ongoing and it says it’ll keep it beyond CERT ending, but I’d get it quick, just in case. Npower offers a similar deal but only for its own customers.
Deals for the elderly or low income families: There are better deals out there for those on certain qualifying benefits such as State Pension Credit, or families with low incomes who also receive Child Tax Credit.
British Gas gives £50 to anyone recommending someone on qualifying benefits for free insulation and £50 to the recipient as well (once the installation is complete). EDF is giving £100 on a prepaid card for each type of insulation fitted for those on qualifying benefits, and Eon is offering £100 as a cheque or as Argos vouchers if you get either or both types of insulation.
Is the scheme being replaced?
The CERT scheme is being replaced by new schemes for 2013:
- Green Deal: This is the flagship scheme, effectively it’ll allow anyone to get a loan for a huge range of energy efficiency changes, but they shouldn’t have to repay more than the savings made on energy bills.
- Energy Company Obligation: The ECO, on the other hand, is designed to help low income, vulnerable households – it requires energy suppliers to provide funds and energy efficiency changes to vulnerable households.
Are there any other energy grants available or ways to save on insulation?
It’s worth ringing the Energy Saving Trust on 0300 123 1234, which will look through what may be available to you. There are thousands of pounds worth of grants available, especially for those on qualifying benefits. Plus the Home Heat Helpline on 0800 336 699 can give you help if you’re struggling.
Grants include schemes such as Warm Front, which provides up to £3,500 to help improve heating or insulation in the homes of those on certain benefits living in England.