A SUPPORT service is offering residents help with switching to new energy companies.

Citizens Advice Oxfordshire is reminding people that it has advisers who can guide people as they sign up with a new fuel or electricity company or switch to a better tariff.

At no cost, people can have one-on-one sessions by telephone to take a close look at their individual situation.

The service says now is the time to sort out energy bills before the winter comes.

It said: “We can help you understand energy bills and various kinds of tariffs, supporting you if you want to switch and calculating the savings you might make.

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“If you’ve fallen behind on bill payments, we can advise you on ways to reduce your debt by budgeting or trying a new payment scheme, for example.”

Citizens Advice can also tell you about how to make your house more energy efficient using different measures such as proofing windows and doors and installing LED light bulbs.

Grants may also be available to pay for thermal insulation.

It added: “We can check your benefit entitlements and help you to claim them if you’re eligible. There are several helpful schemes like the Priority Services Register and the Warm Home Discount.

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“And if you have any complaints against your current supplier, we can help you resolve them.”

Homes in Oxford are trialling a system which drives down bills, while also being more friendly to the environment.

The project aims to demonstrate how ground source heat pumps with smart heating controls can reduce heating costs for residents.

Fifty-six homes in Blackbird Leys will act as guinea pigs for the trial, after housing provider Stonewater partnered with ground source heat pump manufacturer and supplier, Kensa Contracting.

The homes have been installed with Kensa ‘Shoebox’ ground source heat pumps, which will combine with smart controls and a time-of-use tariff.

The pilot scheme, under the Energy Superhub Oxford (ESO) project, aims to be rolled out to 300 homes in and around Oxford over the next two years.

Leon Storer, assistant director of capital investment at Stonewater, said: “We’re delighted to be a part of this innovative and forward-thinking project, supporting the local authority in achieving a net zero carbon future.

“By replacing our residents’ current high carbon night storage heaters with Kensa’s ground source heat pump systems, we’re able to not only work towards a more sustainable future, but an economical one too.

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“This is because a benefit of transitioning to this type of heat pump system is the significant cost savings it provides for residents.”

Citizens Advice Oxfordshire is supported by more than 667 trained volunteers and 52 paid staff.

In 2018-19 it helped 24,500 people across Oxfordshire with 73,000 issues.

You can find information on switching to new energy providers on its website at www.citizensadvice.org.uk/energy or phone the Adviceline on 0300 330 9042.