Photo of reflective radiator panels being installed. Credit: ECOE
One of the small changes that saved the 88 year-old more than £250 in four months. Credit: ECOE

An elderly Exmouth woman, struggling to pay her bills, has saved hundreds of pounds thanks to a few small changes in her home.

With just a little help in the form of door draft excluders, LED lightbulbs and reflective radiator panels, the 88-year-old saved more than an estimated £250 in just four months.

£48-worth of measures were provided for free as part of a specialised home visit scheme run by Exeter Community Energy (ECOE), in partnership with East Devon District Council (EDDC) and the Council’s Financial Resilience and Benefits team.

A further £15,000 for 98 more ECOE home visits to help other struggling East Devon residents, over the coming months, has been granted by the Authority. EDDC and ECOE have shared this woman’s journey in hopes it will encourage others needing help to come forward:

After an initial telephone conversation and home visit by an experienced home energy advisor, ECOE provided the above free measures along with wide ranging advice, including on:
• Reducing condensation and mould
• The benefits of smarts meters (how they can help you understand the new costs of using appliances)
• Ensuring you’re on a good fixed-rate energy tariff
• Simple behaviour changes to reduce bills - like reducing shower times
• Ensuring the elderly woman was on the priority services register

The advisor also checked the resident’s loft insulation and found it needed topping up, so refereed her for a grant funded home improvement scheme which will also assess property eligibility for solar panels.

ECOE will review the residents’ situation again later in the year, to see how she is getting on.

Tara Bowers, Project manager of ECOE said:

“We’re delighted to be working with EDDC again this year to support vulnerable and fuel poor households in the region.

"As each year goes by it seems that our expert advice is needed more than ever and we’re therefore grateful for this additional financial support which will enable us to reach more residents.”

Councillor Dan Ledger, East Devon District Council portfolio holder for Strategic Planning said:

“On average ECOE helps to save residents an estimated £1,000 a year from just one home visit or around £400 a year through a telephone assessment.

“This is an incredible amount. I don’t know anyone that would say no to saving an estimated £83 a month, by allowing an ECOE specialist to assess how they could improve the efficiency of their home.

“We really hope more people will get in touch with EDDC’s financial resilience team to see what support can be offered through this special scheme.”

If you would like help from the ECOE team please get in touch with EDDC’s financial resilience team who can provide a referral: