West Midlands has highest rates of fuel poverty in England

West Midlands has highest rates of fuel poverty in England

West Midlands has highest rates of fuel poverty in England – but free expert advice is here!

Help is at hand for those living in fuel poverty across the West Midlands, with energy experts Warmer Homes West Midlands locating themselves in the heart of the region.

The charity’s new base in Tyseley, Birmingham means that it can more easily operate where help is needed the most.

The government’s latest fuel poverty data which has just published, shows that the West Midlands has the highest rate of fuel poverty in England – with Birmingham having the highest proportion of fuel poor households.*

Warmer Homes West Midlands delivers expert advice to those struggling to heat their homes.

Paul Wiltshire, who heads up the organisation said: “The last 12 months have been unprecedented when it comes to energy bill rises and so many people are struggling to heat their homes; pay their bills and keep warm and well.”

“We’re here to support people right across the West Midlands. Our advice is tailored for lower income residents and those in fuel poverty; and here in the West Midlands we have the highest rates in England.”

“Our advice and support is delivered by friendly, qualified energy experts who run a freephone advice service. We also have a team of outreach workers who work closely with our local communities running drop-in sessions, roadshow advice events, and training of frontline workers for partner organisations.”

“And our experts also offer home-visits to make sure that we can tailor specific advice for those who need it most.”

Paul added: “We’re on a mission to improve the health and wellbeing of people living in cold and damp homes with free impartial personalised energy advice right across the region. Our person-centred approach means we can make a big difference even when things look bleak.”

The charity can help with:

  • Energy efficiency advice to to reduce bills
  • Grants and funding for energy efficiency measures
  • Grants for broken heating systems
  • Help with fuel bills and energy debt
  • Money mentoring
  • Billing issues with your supplier


Call us for free on 0800 988 2881

Don’t worry alone

Notes to editors

*The government data can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/sub-regional-fuel-poverty-2023-2021-data/sub-regional-fuel-poverty-in-england-2023-2021-data


Warmer Homes West Midlands is a project run by of Act on Energy – a leading energy advice charity for 25 years based in Warwickshire.

Warmer Homes West Midlands has already supported more than 10,000 vulnerable households across the region in its first two years of operation. A further two years of funding was announced last October; funding awarded  by Energy Savings Trust.

For further information please contact judy@actonenergy.org.uk

Changes announced to energy support packages

Changes announced to energy support packages

The Chancellor of the Exchequer has announced today that the Energy Price Guarantee (which had been scheduled to last for two years) will now be limited to 6 months.


He has announced a review to look at what support will be applied after April 2023 – signalling a ‘new approach’ was required, targeting those most in need.

Until then, the price guarantee (the ‘cap’) remains in place, which means that for a typical household, an annual bill will be around £2,500. For those who use more energy, the bill will be higher because it is the unit cost of energy that is capped – not the overall bill.

Similarly for those using less energy, the bill will be less.


The £400 grant being paid in 6 monthly instalments from October 2022 remains in place.

If you’re worried about your energy bills this winter – please don’t worry alone. Call us for free on 0800 988 2881 to find out more about how we can help you.


We can help with:

  • Energy efficiency to to reduce bills
  • Grants and funding for energy efficiency measures
  • Grants for broken heating systems
  • Help with fuel bills and energy debt
  • Billing issues with your supplier



Call us for free on 0800 988 2881

Don’t worry alone

Government Support for Household Energy Bills

Government Support for Household Energy Bills

Government Support for Household Energy Bills


The UK Government recently announced measures to support households with the cost of their energy bills this winter, to ease the pressure from the global rise in energy prices.


From 1st October, the Energy Price Guarantee will mean a typical UK household will pay an average of £2,500 a year on their energy bills for the next two years. This is automatic and applies to all households.

This will save the average household at least £1,000 a year based on current energy prices from October.


In addition to this, households will benefit from a £400 discount on their energy bills via the Energy Bills Support Scheme.



About the Energy Bills Support Scheme


The Energy Bills Support Scheme is a Government scheme which provides a £400 non-repayable discount to eligible households in Great Britain to help with their energy bills over winter 2022 to 2023. You won’t have to pay it back.


You’ll get the £400 in six instalments starting from October 2022. You’ll get:

    • £66 in October and November
    • £67 in December, January, February and March

You’ll get the discount monthly, even if you pay for your energy quarterly or use a payment card. Your electricity supplier should provide more guidance on the scheme before it starts. If you have not received your first instalment by the end of October 2022, you need to contact your energy supplier.


Messaging to traditional prepayment meter customers


You will receive the Energy Bills Support Scheme discount from the first week of each month between October 2022 and March 2023.

Your supplier should have your contact details, but if you’re not sure or you don’t receive any information from them, you should check that they have your latest number and email.

You’ll get the discount automatically in one of the following ways, as:

    • Redeemable vouchers, sent by SMS text, email or post
    • An automatic credit when you top up at your usual top up point

Your electricity supplier will let you know in advance how you will get your discount.

If you get vouchers you’ll need to redeem them at a top-up point. Your supplier will tell you where to redeem them, for example at a Post Office branch or a PayPoint shop.

Payzone outlets are unable to accept the vouchers.


To find out more, visit the Energy Bills Support Scheme on gov.uk.


Are energy costs stressing you out?

Are energy costs stressing you out?

You might be wondering why you are paying more for your energy…

Simple answer: The energy price cap increased. On the first of April this year the energy price cap increased by 54%.


What is a price cap? 

This is the limit on how much a supplier can charge for the gas or electricity per unit. This is to ensure that you aren’t overcharged for your energy by your supplier.


How is this worked out?

On a six-month basis, Ofgem (which is a regulatory body supervising the operation of the gas and electricity industry) work out the average costs a supplier must pay to get energy to the consumer. To ensure you get a fair price energy companies must charge the cap or below the capped price.

Why has the cap increased? 

This is due to the wholesale price of fuel, which increased for several reasons; these include the harsh winter in Europe, the recent conflict in Ukraine disrupting supply channels and producers not sufficiently increasing production to meet demand.



Here are some small simple tips that can help you lower your energy bills:

  • Turn off the heating – as we come into summer it’s naturally getting warmer so remember to switch it off in the warmer months
  • Wash your clothes at a lower temperature – this doesn’t just save on your energy it saves your clothes too!
  • Dry your clothes outside – now that it’s warmer let the sun do the work rather than the tumble dryer.

For loads more tips look through our other posts or visit our Warmer Homes West Midlands YouTube channel where we have short videos with practical tips.



We can support you in various ways:

  • You can call our freephone number 0808 196 8298 and receive information, advice and guidance from one of our qualified energy advisors.
  • Our community outreach staff can visit you in your home and carry out an energy check with you including the installation of energy efficiency measures.
  • We can also explain any grants and additional support you might be able eligible for depending on your individual circumstances and the existing energy performance of your property.


What does Birmingham’s Clean Air Zone mean for old-car drivers

What does Birmingham’s Clean Air Zone mean for old-car drivers

Two months ago, on the 1st of June, the Birmingham became the third city in the UK to adopt a Clean Air Zone (CAZ), in an effort to control pollution in its city centre. This means that owners of older cars will have to pay £8-a-day to enter Birmingham.

In an article by Metro, it has been reported that, according to the AA, the city council-backed Birmingham Clean Air Zone (CAZ) will affect 100,000 vehicle-owners, in particular young drivers and lower income citizens.

The Birmingham City Council have argued that nearly 1000 people suffer pre mature deaths due to cancers, lung and heart diseases, as a result of high air pollution, thus highlighting that the reduction of emissions is not only an environmental approach, but an effort to improve public health. The decision has been also supported by the governmental, noting that Birmingham is experiencing high levels of air pollution and NO2.

The Clean Air Zone will be applied and operate daily on all roads within the A38 and its tunnels, the A4540 Middleway Ring Road, except Ring Road itself. Over 300 signs and panels have been placed to notify drivers when they are approaching the CAZ.

Upon enetering the CAZ, vehicles will be scanned by Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) to identify those that do not meet the emission standards. Cars, Taxis and LGVs will have to pay £8 daily, whereas Coaches, Buses and HGVs will have to cover £50 daily, where a day is calculated from midnight to midnight and they can pay 6 days in advance and 6 days afterward online or over the phone.

A fine of £120 will be applied to drivers that do not pay the CAZ fee, however, the fine can be reduced to £60 if paid within 14 days.

There are also some cars that are exempt from charges, depending on their emission standard.

Road diversion in Birmingham CAZ

In an interview with LBC Birmingham Councillor Waseem Zaffar has clarified that:

“There’s a two year exemption if you live in the clean air zone, there’s a one year exemption if you work in the clean air zone and earn less than £30,000. Anyone who comes into be vaccinated won’t be charged and the same for anyone coming into the Children’s Hospital.”

He also added that:

“[…] the old can live safely and longer in our city, the young can grow up healthy and fitter because they’re growing up in a city which is not blighted by health equalities but is blighted where we’ve not got clean air which is a fundamental human right”.

Regional economist Dr Steven McCabe has predicted that many people would still struggle to pay the new tax even with the exemptions.

‘Though exemptions are possible, anything making life more financially challenging to Birmingham’s poorest citizens is unwelcome, ‘ he said.

CAZ, however, does offer exemption permits for in-zone residents and it also involves a £10 million scheme that aims at offering £2,000 grants in support of people that work in the CAZ but earn less than £30,000 per year.

Energy Financial Support

Energy Financial Support

Households that are struggling with their energy use and costs should know that there is help and financial support available.

Across the United Kingdom, there are numerous sources of support to overcome fuel poverty or its related issues. If you would like to know more about what constitutes “fuel poverty”, a lookthrough our previous article “What is Fuel Poverty and how can it be alleviated?” might prove quite helpful.

Warm Home Discount Scheme

    The Warm Home Discount Scheme (WHD) is funded by the energy suppliers. It provides direct and indirect financial support to vulnerable energy consumers.
    The WHD scheme separates eligible households into two groups – the ‘Core’ group and the ‘Broader’ group.

    Support under the Core Group is targeted at older, poorer pensioner households. A householder qualifies for the Core Group discount if on a specific day (to be confirmed) all of the following apply:

    • their supplier was part of the scheme.
    • their name (or their partner’s) was on the statement on a specified day in July.
    • they were getting the Guarantee Credit element of Pension Credit (even if they get Savings Credit as well).
    • Discount is £140.

    Households who feel they may qualify for the WHD under their supplier’s Broader Group should submit an application directly to their supplier. Each company has its own set of qualifying conditions.

    A link to the individual suppliers’ websites and their qualifying criteria can be found at: www.gov.uk/the-warm-home-discount-scheme/eligibility.

    Financial Assistance and grants available for those who suffer from Fuel Poverty

    Trusts and Grants

      Most of the energy suppliers offer a range of grants for their most vulnerable customers (subject to meeting certain criteria).

      • British Gas (British Gas Energy Trust) – Payments for household bills/ energy arrears.
      • EDF Energy (EDF Energy Customer Support Fund) – Payments for household bills/ energy arrears or essential appliances.
      • E.ON (Energy Fund) – Will provide payments for household bills/ energy arrears, essential appliances and repairs to or replacement boilers.
      • npower (Energy Fund) – Provides financial assistance to individuals and organisations.
      • SSE Priority Assistance Fund – supports those who in or at risk of fuel poverty. Website includes information on support services.
      • ScottishPower Hardship Fund – Provides help to customers having difficulty paying their bills due to low income. Electricity and gas arrears can be cleared or reduced by a credit from the fund to the customer’s account.
      • Let’s Talk Energy Fund – Open to everybody regardless of energy supplier. It offers debt relief, boilers and white goods.
      • Charis Grants – facilitates charitable and corporate giving by designing, developing and managing a range of services in support of vulnerable members of society. Website: www.charisgrants.com/
      • Priority Services Register (PSR) – The Priority Services Register is a free service provided by fuel suppliers and network operators for vulnerable customers. Each energy supplier and network operator maintains its own register and will need you to contact them directly.