With temperatures dropping, most of us have started turning the heat up. But half of that heat could be escaping through your home’s walls and roof. Energy suppliers are offering free insulation – so what’s the catch?
Well, there might not actually be one.
With energy bills going up, it’s natural to be a bit wary of anything gas and electricity companies are offering for free.
However, the major suppliers (British Gas, Npower, EDF Energy, Scottish and Southern Energy, Scottish Power and Eon) have been obliged to help people reduce carbon emissions from their homes.
This is driven by the government’s Carbon Emissions Reduction Target (Cert) scheme. Under the scheme, gas and electricity companies have emissions targets to meet, and as such should help households get insulation fitted.
To do this, they mainly offer free or discounted insulation – about 1.6 million cavity walls and two million lofts have been professionally insulated using Cert funding since it was introduced.
How much could you save? Up to £175 a year on your heating bills by insulating your loft; up to £135 a year by insulating cavity walls; and around £445 to £475 a year by insulating solid walls.
Free insulation offers roll in
Until this winter, most energy companies have been offering free insulation to those customers that fall into the ‘priority’ group: vulnerable and low-income households, including those in receipt of eligible benefits and pensioners over the age of 70.
As part of our Affordable Energy Campaign, Which? is now asking energy companies to offer free insulation to all. We’re happy that two companies are now doing this.
British Gas is offering free loft and wall insulation to their energy and HomeCare customers. There are eligibility criteria (such as having no more than 60mm of loft insulation at the moment) but most should qualify. You’ll have to apply before 22 December by calling 0800 980 8177 or visiting the British Gas website.
EDF Energy is also offering free insulation, but you don’t have to be an EDF customer to qualify – anyone can apply. However, you will also have to fulfil some eligibility criteria (at least two-thirds of your loft and wall space need to be available to insulate for example) and you’ll have to apply before 31 March 2012 by calling 0800 015 7786 or going to EDF’s website.
When I applied with EDF Energy
My house is in need of insulation, so I went straight onto EDF Energy’s website and filled in its application form. A few days letter an odd letter from EDF came through the post. It was meant to tell me who the contractor would be to survey my property and how to get in touch with them. Instead, all the fields were left blank.
We immediately reported this to EDF Energy, who told us that it was on it and that this problem had only affected around 500 people. All of these 500, including myself, will apparently be sent a remedial letter with all the right details filled in.
Perhaps you’ve tried to get free insulation installed but have had troubles, like me? If you haven’t benefited from free insulation, what’s stopping you? And if you have had it installed, has it made a difference to your heating bills?