Coronavirus info

REAP staff are working from home. You can get in touch by phoning 01542 888 070 – leave a message and your number and we will call you back.  You can also email info@reapscotland.org.uk or contact us via our social media.

We’ve also got some advice about energy and money worries on this page. If your energy enquiry is urgent, if there is a problem with your energy supply or you think you may run out of credit on a prepayment meter, please phone your energy supplier first, as well as contacting REAP for support.

You can also see our Grow Elgin and News webpages, as well as social media, for information and resources about growing your own, composting more and wasting less.

Energy advice and worries about paying bills
If you pay by Direct Debit or on receipt of a bill or have a payment plan, you have a credit meter. Energy Companies have pledged to support customers during the pandemic. Debt management was put on hold initially but from 1st July energy companies can start to request payment for unpaid bills. Ofgem, the energy regulator says they will not tolerate aggressive debt collection. Energy companies must take careful consideration of what customers can afford to pay. Ofgem expects that companies will be easy to contact and will signpost customers to other sources of help and to cheaper tariffs. Some companies will let you manage payments through your online account.

If you pay by topping up a key or card or an pay in advance online or with an App, you have a pre-payment meter. Support is also available for pre-payment meter customers from energy companies such as increased emergency credit and posting out pre-loaded meter cards or keys. Some energy companies have access to hardship funds.
If your usual top-up location is closed you can find other locations at the following sites:
Paypoint – https://consumer.paypoint.com/

Payzone – https://www.payzone.co.uk/consumers/

Post Office – https://www.postoffice.co.uk/bill-payments/

When contacting your energy company, you might have a longer wait time on the phone than usual. General advice is to contact them via your online account, by chat, email, apps or social media if you can. Phone numbers are listed on the Money Saving Expert website (scroll down their page to get to energy). There is also information on your rights if you might be made redundant, sick pay, benefits, mortgage holidays and sources of financial help.

Reading your meter

It’s a good idea to submit meter readings to your energy supplier if you don’t have a smart meter. It helps keep bills accurate. Once life gets back to normal, keep submitting readings to avoid an estimate based on a period when you used more energy than usual due to self-isolation or staying at home more. You can usually submit readings online through your account, or to an automated phone line. If you’re not sure how to take a reading, Citizens’ Advice Scotland has this helpful page. Here are guides from several energy providers too (click on your provider to open the link):

Energy Emergencies

If you have a power cut you should call 105. If you have a gas emergency you should call 0800 111 999. If you have a faulty meter call your energy supplier

Priority Services Register

You may be eligible for your energy supplier Priority Services Register if someone in your home is of pension age, a child under 5 years old, has a long-term health condition or a disability. The Register is a free service provided by energy suppliers and network operators to ensure vulnerable customers are prioritised in event of a power cut or receive suitable support when dealing with the representatives of the company. To register please get in touch with your supplier, their contact details will be on your energy bill. Due to staff shortages at the moment you are better to email them than phone.

Useful Links

Moray Council – updates on services, useful phone numbers, and free and confidential advice about money worries including access to grants http://www.moray.gov.uk/moray_standard/page_132517.html

Grampian Coronavirus Assistance Hub – a focal point for information and assistance for anyone affected by coronavirus anywhere in Grampian. Freephone 0808 196 3384 Monday to Friday
8am to 6pm and 10am to 2pm weekends. https://www.gcah.org.uk/

Citizens Advice Bureau – support and advice on Benefits, Work, Debt & Money, Consumer issues, Family issues, Housing, Law & Courts, Health, Immigration. Phone 01343 550088 Monday to Friday 10am – 2pm https://www.moraycab.org.uk/

Moray Food Plus – Crisis service ensuring everyone has access to food through delivery of food parcels. At the moment you can’t request a parcel yourself, but other agencies, including REAP, can make a referral on your behalf. www.morayfoodplus.org.uk

Moray Schoolbank –school uniform for families in financial hardship. Phone 01340 212101 or em info@morayschoolbank.org

Shelter – Housing support including homelessness and tenants’ rights
https://scotland.shelter.org.uk/get_advice/scottish_housing_advice_coronavirus_COVID_19

Reducing your energy use at home – top tips
  • Only fill the kettle with just enough water for your needs
  • Consider cooking with a slow cooker instead of using an oven. It’s cheaper and a great way to batch cook
  • Keep lids on pans to reduce cooking time of dishes
  • Remember to turn off appliances that can be turned off at the plug instead of left on standby such as microwaves and televisions
  • Turn your lights off when you’re not using them
  • If working from home, make the most of daylight to work by, unplug your laptop, don’t have it charging all the time and if you’re managing a later start to the day than usual, adjust your central heating timer accordingly
Keeping Warm

It’s important to keep warm, especially if you feel unwell.

  • Your central heating thermostat should usually be set to no more than 21° if possible
  • Make sure your radiators are correctly set in each room.
  • Layer up when it’s cooler – jumpers, and thick socks to the fore
  • Adjust your heating programmer to come on and off when needed
  • Close doors between rooms to keep the heat where it’s needed
  • If any draughts are coming from your doors, put down draught excluders (you can stuff tights or jeans with crumpled up paper or old fabrics for a quick home made one) or fill any gaps with old newspaper or rags
  • Close blinds and curtains in the evening to keep the heat in

Current advice and information about Coronavirus is available on the Scottish Government website here. This includes what do to keep yourself and others safe and who to contact if you are unwell.

Fraud and scams
Sadly criminals are moving quickly to take advantage of the uncertainty that coronavirus is causing.  There’s good advice about Coronavrius scams and contact numbers on the Money Advice Service website and on the Trading Standards Website. Don’t feel pressured into making a quick decision about anything, stop and think about what’s really going on.