Everything You Need to Know About Installing Solar Panels

You may well have noticed more than a few homes investing in solar panel kits in your local area – and there’s plenty of great reasons why they’re making the most of them!

It goes without saying that harnessing energy from the sun to heat and power your home just makes sense economically in the long run – and on top of this, the right solar panels installation could result in you earning a nice bit of cash on the side just for generating your own energy.  

There’s been a few changes over the years as to how much you could be set to earn from setting up your own solar panel roof tiles – but it’s hardly time to think about putting away those kits just yet! Here’s our guide on Everything You Need to Know About Installing Solar Panels.

Interested in finding out more about Solar Energy Why not speak to your energy supplier? find the right contact number here.

Everything You Need to Know About Installing Solar Panels

Buying Solar Panels

One of the first factors you should be looking into is the cost of solar panels in the UK.  It’s common knowledge that setting up with solar panel kits can be a fair investment from the off, but many people who use them regularly will likely tell you that the money you stake up front will be paid off through regular use and earning along the way.

No matter who you buy with, the general solar panel cost UK providers lead with tends to fall in the bracket of £5000 to £8000.  That’s the price of a reasonable new car – but it’s worth remembering that solar panel costs have fallen dramatically over the years thanks to increased adoption and interest.  

Therefore, while this can be seen as something of a hefty cost up front, if you have the money available to invest and the benefits you are fit to reap outweigh the initial investment, it may be high time you purchased yourself a kit or two.

Are Solar Panels Right For Me?

The main reason why people buy solar panels from UK suppliers remains obvious – to save cash, and to generate further income.  The government maintains what is called a feed-in tariff – a tax-free rate at which you will receive money for every kWh of energy you generate.

 You’ll be paid via an energy supplier directly, and you can expect to receive 4.07p per kWh – some sources such as the Energy Saving Trust advise that this could mean you receiving up to £150 per year, on average, from the panels you have fitted.

You could also save serious cash on your current bills.  The electricity you’ll generate from the sun’s rays will mean that you need to use less directly from your supplier – meaning that you could knock considerable money off your annual rates.  

The amount you could save depends on when you use your solar panels, how often and how large the system you have installed actually is – using the system during the day will require you to use less energy from your supplier, too.

You should also bear in mind that panels are generally very low-maintenance – you may only need to replace certain mechanisms once in around 25 years.  Do, however, make sure you have valid warranty from your supplier before you get too deeply involved.

Installing Solar Panels

Now that we’ve covered a little bit about solar panel costs and savings, it’s time to look at exactly what you need to do to get everything up and running.  This is a remarkably easy process, but it’s one which is always worth following to the letter, where you can.

  1. Call up for estimates.  Locate your nearest solar panel suppliers online and try to get quotes in writing wherever possible.  A good place to start may be the Renewable Energy Association.
  2. Once you’re happy with a quote, arrange for your solar panels installation – you won’t have to worry about waiting too much longer – within a matter of weeks you’ll have a firm installation date, and it only takes a day or two to put everything together.
  3. If you’re interested in making the most of that brilliant feed-in tariff – which is guaranteed for twenty years – you’ll need to send an MCS certificate and application form to an energy supplier.  You’ll also need to make sure that you enclose proof of your identification, your purchase of a solar panel kit and an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC).

As far as the main solar panels installation goes, that’s about it!  But there are a few other important factors you’re going to need to bear in mind before you install.

Other Things to Consider

Check Your Energy Rating

If you are interested in getting the full feed-in payment, your home is going to need to be registered with an EPC advising of an energy efficiency rating of D or higher.  The difference is huge – as any homes ranked from E to G – those being particularly inefficient – will see their tariff drop from 4.07p to 0.43p per kWh.

Consider Your Location

Studies and data show that homes with solar panel installations tend to make more money in the south of England – generally, the closer you are to the capital – depending entirely upon the amount of daylight you’ll receive.  You’re also going to need to consider the way your roof faces – if it faces south – on the whole – you’ll get maximum daylight up to 4pm each day, which means more money for you. Make sure you install solar panels by the spring, too – it just makes sense!

Consider Solar Panel Types

The two main types of solar panel do very different things.  The main type, known as Solar PV, will convert sun energy into electricity – whereas Solar Thermal panels will focus on water heating.  Well worth bearing in mind!


Our conclusion is this – if you have a large family and the capital available to invest in a solar panel installation – why not give it a go?  Grab some quotes from local installers and see how much you could save with the right supplier. 

What is a Scottish Power Hardship Fund and How Do You Get One?

A Scottish Power Hardship Fund is an exclusionary scheme ran by Scottish Power which allows already existent customers to apply for a reduction of price in their current contract if any of the following applies:

  • With chronic or debilitating illnesses or conditions With mental health issues
  • Households experiencing other situations such as a medical dependency of electricity or be on their Priority Services Register or Special Needs group.
  • Families with young children
  • Who are older

Applying for the Scottish Power Hardship Fund

To determine whether your situation is applicable for this scheme you must make contact with Scottish Power via email or various helplines and demonstrate your ability to proceed with ongoing payments for at least three months. This will provide evidence for your case and authorise your application

You can call them directly on 0808 800 0128 or fill the application in online on https://www.sedhardship.fund. It can take up to a possible 5 days for you to get a reply.

How to Qualify 

If you qualified for the program then Scottish Power will either clear or reduce any debt by up to £3000 that have come through Scottish Power energy bills, however you must meet a specific criteria to occupy these benefits:

  • Income SupportJobseeker’s Allowance
  • Pension Credit
  • Employment and Support Allowance
  • Low household income (below £16,190)
  • Special Circumstances (e.g. wage reduction due to illness)

You only need to meet a few of the above criteria to be eligible however the more requirements you meet the larger the funding may be.

General Information about the Scottish Hardship Fund

The company set aside an initial £5.2 million throughout 2015 and 2016 to aid customers who were struggling to pay their energy bills. Social Enterprise Direct Ltd has been appointed as a separate administrator of fund and who at present are based in Glasgow and currently fall under the Citizens Direct Umbrella who process the all the applications.

Neil Clitheroe who is CEO of retail and generation within Scottish Power, proclaimed:

“No matter how hard we try, sometimes we simply cannot reunite customers with their unclaimed credits when they switch.  We think that it makes sense to use this money in a hardship fund to provide assistance for some of our most vulnerable customers in these tough economic times.

This shows that they are dedicated to keeping customers on board and are therefore are willing to set aside a large budget to help the most vunerable clients stay on track and ultimately stay with Scottish Power in the long run.

The fund will provide grants between £100 – £3000 and each case will be assessed with consideration given to the availability of the overall budget. Results of the case are based upon:

  • The size of the debt owed
  • Individual circumstances

 If you are still wondering what the Scottish Power Hardship Fund is or still unsure whether you are able to qualify, check out this video for more general information.

EV Everywhere: The New Tariff For Electric Car Owners

EV Everywhere is a new tariff provided by OVO Energy that allows new and existing customers to gain several extra benefits if they own an electric car. The tariff was introduced on August 1, 2017 when OVO energy formed a partnership with Chargemaster (the UK’s largest provider of electric vehicle charging infrastructure) in attempt to build a complete ‘Grid Smart’ that will balance renewable energy by allowing users to sell back their nonessential energy.

Electric Car Charging

Benefits of Using EV Everywhere

Once you sign up for EV Everywhere and are accepted you will then be entitled to a 2 year fixed energy package, this package includes:

  • Free Green Energy (worth £120)
  • A 2 year free membership to Polar Plus who have over 5,000 electric charging points across the UK (worth £188)
  • Zero energy price rises for at least 3 years
  • 3% interest reward on credit balances

These benefits can be extremely beneficial as you receive 100% green electric renewable energy along with your extra bundle benefits. Electric cars are becoming increasingly popular and OVO Energy are backing the idea of an electric future further with this new tariff.

Having a tariff bundle individually formulated for EV Everywhere users is a great idea and well put together, it’s great to see OVO Energy giving something back to their customers. Why not see how much you can save by giving them a call on 0117 9303 100 or browse our OVO contact page for the best number.

How To Sign Up For EV Everywhere

Signing up for the EV Everywhere bundle is easy. Simply visit their website here and put your post code where it asks you to. From that point you will be asked to fill out a survey which will determine the quote you will receive. After you have submitted your survey it will then be assessed and your quote will be returned to you almost instantly. If you want to accept the offer then follow the on screen instructions and you’re all set!

About OVO Energy

OVO Energy is one of the leading UK self sufficient energy suppliers and seems to be tackling the ‘big 6’ energy providers head on. OVO Energy was Founded in 2009 by Stephen Fitzpatrick and so far they have made positive changes,  shaking up the UK energy market by making energy tariffs less complicated, more eco-friendly and fairer for customers

OVO Energy now has a whopping 680,000 customers, which continues to increase month on month. Their efforts have been recognised by many recently being named as the Supplier of the Year 2017 by uSwitch which is an incredible and well deserved achievement.

OVO also ranked number one in the 2015 and 2016 Which? energy customer satisfaction surveys which seemed to give other customers the confidence to make the switch. Overall, OVO is a very customer (and environmentally) focused company who we think will begin to lead change that the UK energy industry needs. We can hope other energy suppliers will follow their lead providing cheaper, easier and more energy efficient tariffs for all.

How to Complain to Your Energy Supplier

Have you reviewed your latest energy bill and are struggling to make the numbers add up? After speaking to your energy provider do you feel that the customer service you received was poor? Do your estimated meter readings grossly mismatch your actual meter readings? If you have answered yes to any of the questions above you may have considered making a complaint.

List of Energy Companies UK

With the price of gas and electricity soaring over recent years it is not surprise that complaints to energy suppliers have followed suit. Quarterly data from Jan-March 2017 shows that approximately 65% of complaints to the Energy Ombudsman are related to billing issues. These include grievances over disputed bills, balance queries and disputes over gas or electricity usage. A smaller number of complaints are registered due to transfers, poor customer service and other issues.  Below we have outlined the best strategy for making a successful complaint to your energy supplier.

First steps to making a complaint about your energy provider

The first step should be to complain to your energy provider directly. It can be tempting to complain to a higher authority first, especially if you feel that you have been treated unfairly but your first port of call should be the provider themselves. Check your energy supplier’s complaints procedure – you should be able to find this either on the supplier’s website or on your latest utility bill.

Methods of contacting your energy supplier

Often in the case of a small complaint a telephone call may be all that is required to come to a solution. Don’t forget to document the date and time of your calls plus the name of the call handler who you spoke to.  You may need to refer to this information at a later date if your complaint remains unresolved. Check our our list of Energy Suppliers here to find the correct contact number.

If your complaint is more complex then you may prefer to send written correspondence. This correspondence may be in the form of a letter or an e-mail. Remember to quote important information such as your account number or a reference number if the complaint has previously been logged.

It can be helpful to include copies of supporting documents for example the bill in question. These documents can be scanned and attached to e-mail documents or sent by recorded delivery in paper format. Keep hold of your original documents – you may need them again as the complaint proceeds.  The benefit of written correspondence is that it is easy to refer back to at a later point in time to avoid any “he said, she said” scenarios.

Getting help with your complaint

Ideally your complaint should be dealt with after this point. Most suppliers will aim to handle your complaint within a period of 8 weeks. Unfortunately in some situations there is no resolution at this stage. At this time you may wish to seek further advice. One option is to contact the Citizen’s Advice Bureau (https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/).

The “Consumer” section of their website offers some advice on managing your energy supply. They provide useful information on understanding your energy bill, switching providers, making a complaint and much more. One of the great resources they include in their guidance is a complaints letter template.

Hopefully by this point you will have received a resolution to your complaint from you supplier. If you have not received a decision within 8 weeks or if you are unhappy with the outcome with your complaint then you may wish to take your grievances further.

What to do if you are unhappy with the response from your energy supplier

The final step in the complaints procedure would be contact the Energy Ombudsman. The ombudsman will act as an independent third party in the complaints process. Their role is to represent the interests of the public by investigating complaints and helping to mediate between the other parties involved i.e. the consumer and the service provider.

In order for your case to be reviewed by the Ombudsman you must make contact within 12 months of the response to your complaint from your energy supplier.  The Ombudsman may ask the supplier to re-review your case. The Ombudsman could agree with the original response from your energy supplier.

On the other hand the Ombudsman may favour your argument and you could be entitled to financial compensation in some circumstances. If you are unhappy with the outcome from the ombudsman then you have the option of pursuing other avenues including taking your case to court.

How Much Does a British Gas Smart Meter Cost?

If you are looking to make life in 2017 that little bit easier, then a British Gas Smart Meter could be exactly what you are looking for, not only do they automatically read your gas and electricity meter but they also send the results to British Gas directly so there is no need for you to keep checking how much gas and electric you have used on your meter, it’s all done for you.

Another advantage of British Gas Smart Meters is that they come with a smart energy monitor so you and your family can see exactly how much gas and electric you are using, in pennies and pounds, as you’re using it – which can be a great way to get the kids involved in saving energy around the house.

What is a British Gas Smart Meter?

British Gas Smart Meter ContactA British Gas Smart Meter allows you to not only see how much energy you are using but you can also control the energy you are using by doing something as simple as using the dishwasher or boiling the kettle for a quick cuppa and catch up with friends. Due to the fact that the British Gas Smart Meters are connected to British Gas you don’t even need to mess around finding a reading your meter ever again and you’ll get an accurate meter reading every time, that just charges you for the energy you have used.

How Much Does a British Gas Smart Meter Cost?

The best thing about a Smart Meter with British Gas is the British Gas Smart Meter Cost; British Gas installs them completely free of charge. As long as you have your gas and electric with British Gas they will install your smart meter for you at no extra charge.

The smart meter supports plans by the government to reduce the carbon emissions made in the UK, by seeing how much electricity and gas homeowners are using it is hoped that homeowners will be able to make small steps to reducing their own carbon emissions which will help create a better environment for us all to live in, a low electricity and gas bills for home owners too!

As soon as your smart meter from British Gas is installed you’ll be able to start making savings on your energy bills straight away.

To enquire about a British Gas Smart Meter call our British Gas Contact Number which can be found here.

The UK’s Best and Worst Energy Suppliers

Long gone are the days when UK energy suppliers could get away with charging extortionate gas and electricity rates. In more recent years energy providers in the UK have been heavily monitored by Ofgem and have come under fire for unfair prices with some of them even receiving fines.

Alongside official regulatory bodies such as Ofgem we have also seen an increase in online review and comparison websites which help customers find the best price and service for their gas and electricity. This has certainly helped smaller less well known energy companies gain some market share in turn taking it away from the ‘big six’ who previously dominated the energy industry.

UK Energy Providers Reviewed

Websites such as TrustPilot, Money Supermarket and Which? help provide customers with honest reviews about their energy supplier, new customers looking to switch can gain an understanding of the company they are looking to move to. They also offer services such as home bill checker and understanding your bill to see if you are paying too much for your gas and electricity.

Which? Recently conducted their biggest energy customer survey for 2016 which included feedback from 8,902 customers. The study asked customers to rate their energy provider on customer service, value for money, account management, and how easy it was to understand their bill.

The study revealed some interesting honest insights with one of the ‘big six’ energy companies being rated the lowest out of 22 energy suppliers for customer service. If you would like to read the article and view the results you can do here.

If you aren’t getting the best price from your energy provider and receiving a great level of customer service then you could look at switching as you can get better from an energy supplier. From the report that Which? have published it shows around 87% of customers are receiving below than average with customer service or they are paying much more than they should be for the energy they use.

It is thought that the main reason for this is because the Big Six energy firms who supply energy to the majority of UK households (EDF, EON, NPower, British Gas, SSE and Scottish Power) all fall behind the small energy companies that offer cheaper tariffs and are seem to be better at keeping their customers happy.

Through the survey that Which? conducted a total of 22 energy companies were rated and nearly 9,000 people were asked to rate their energy provider when it comes to the level of customer service that they receive, the value for money they get, the clarity and accuracy of their bills, how the energy company is overall and also if the customer would recommend their energy company to a friend or family member. Which? then put this information together to give each company a customer satisfaction score.

Best Energy Suppliers in the UK

None of the Big Six providers made it into the top 7 UK energy suppliers and surprisingly Npower positioned 22/22 for customer service. The top 7 energy companies included Ovo Energy, Flow Energy, Ebico, Good Energy and Ecotricity. Similar findings to those from the Which? survey can be found on Money Supermarket.

Best Energy Provider UKFor example, Ebico had received 64 reviews and had an overall rating of 8 out of 10. This was based on 7 out of 10 for customer service, 7 out of 10 for accuracy of charges, 8 out of 10 for clarity of information on bills and 8 out of 10 for payment options.

Meanwhile Ovo Energy which also featured in the top group of energy companies in the Which? report also ranked highly with customers on Money Supermarket with 259 reviews. Ovo scored an overall rating of 8 out of 10 which was made up through ratings of 8 out of 10 for customer service, 8 out of 10 for accuracy of charges, 8 out of 10 for clarity of information on bills and 8 out of 10 for payment options.

These results may look worrying to those customers who are currently with one of the Big Six energy companies however the great thing with the amount of exposure comparisons websites are currently getting online, in the press and on social media is that it causes those energy companies which scored poorly to react to improve pricing and services.

With the smaller energy companies leading the way when it comes to customer satisfaction its making the Big Six energy companies sit up and take notice. The Big Six energy companies are taking note of the competition and stepping up their game to provide a level of service that their customers deserve.

How to Switch Energy Supplier

If you are unhappy with your current energy provider and have researched a potential new one the process of switching isn’t as painful as you may think. What you should look into are the terms and conditions of your new provider to ensure there aren’t any hidden charges in your contract before you make the switch.

Often energy suppliers offer highly competitive rates that draw customers in, additional charges and fee’s don’t often become apparent until its too late and you are tied into a contract.

The process of switching has been made pretty simple thanks to websites such a uSwitch.com and Money Supermarket, there is no charge to use the service and they take care of all communication for you. You can also use a money cashback service such as Top Cash back as well as uSwitch to make additional savings.



Find the Right Contact Number for Your Energy Provider

Diverse-Energy are a directory company who provide a call forwarding service for tier 1 and tier 2 energy suppliers across the UK. Along side providing contact numbers for energy providers in the UK we also like to provide as much information as possible to help with questions such as: Who is the cheapest Gas and Electric supplier? Which is the cheapest energy tariff? How to choose the best energy provider in the UK? We have also done the research for you on renewable energy sources and how to generate your own energy at home (you can thank us later!).

Today there are over 20 companies providing energy products and services to UK home and business owners. These companies are typically divided up into the 1st tier (composed of the Big Six) and the 2nd tier (composed mostly of ‘boutique’ energy companies and a few hybrids).

The Big Six Energy Providers in the UK

British Gas: British Gas sounds like an old economy stalwart but actually it’s a subsidiary of a larger company named Centrica which provides energy products throughout the UK, Ireland and North American. British Gas is probably the largest energy company in the UK and provides energy services to some 15 million UK homes. If you need to get to contact British Gas you can call them on 0843 509 2518.

EDF Energy: EDF is the UK’s largest producer of electricity and is a company that has been formed through mergers and acquisitions. Today it’s a wholly owned subsidiary of the French conglomerate EDF SA. EDF serves nearly 6 million homes throughout the UK. Call the EDF Energy contact number today on 0843 509 2517.

E.ON: E.ON went by the name “Powergen” until it was bought in 2002 by German firm E.ON AG and adopted the name of its new parent. The German parent company is the world’s largest investor-owned electric utility serving nearly 30 million customers. If you need contact EON you can call the EON phone number on 0843 509 2519.

NPower: NPower is owned by RWE of Germany and routinely occupies the lowest rungs of customer satisfaction surveys. NPower has more than 6 million customers in the UK while also providing energy products to Utility Warehouse Discount Club customers. You can call the Npower contact number on 0843 509 2526.

Scottish Power: Scottish Power was acquired by the Spanish energy giant Iberdrola in 2006 and not long afterward its customer satisfaction ratings began to take a hit. The company serves more than 5 million customers in the UK and also owns PPM Energy in the US. To contact Scottish Power you can call them on 0843 509 2524.

SSE: The second largest energy company in the UK with more than 9 million customers SSE does business under a variety of names including SWALEC and Scottish Hydro. Like most of its Big Six counterparts SSE suffers from poor customer service ratings. Call the SSE contact number today on 0843 509 2521.

Once you get past the Big Six there are a number of smaller 2nd tier energy companies that deliver a variety of different products and services, including energy produced from wind, solar and hydro. These smaller companies tend to have a better customer service record but can still be difficult to get through to using their standard contact numbers. These 2nd tier companies include:

Getting in Touch with Your Energy Provider

It can often be difficult finding the right contact number for a particular energy supplier as most don’t display them easily and have you clicking through page after page on their website. Some energy providers don’t supply a telephone number at all and will only speak to customers through a contact form or via email, this can be a major inconvenience when there is an emergency and you need to get something resolved quickly.

Here at Diverse-Energy we provide a call forwarding service whereby we supply a contact number that will get your directly through to the energy company you are trying to reach. We are in no way associated with any of the companies we list or write about on this website, we simply do the research for you and provide the telephone numbers your need to save you have to spend time trying to find them.

How to Choose the Best Energy Provider

Compare Cheap Energy Prices and Suppliers

Following the ups and downs, the mergers and acquisitions, the buyouts, sell-offs and changes in policy of the UK energy market can be a bit a little confusing. However, if you’re thinking of switching energy suppliers there really is no option but to buckle down and do the homework necessary to try and make sense of your options. On the bright side, the UK energy landscape does have one thing going for it: it’s very competitive, meaning that if you invest a little time and energy in research it won’t be difficult to choose the best energy provider in the UK.

How to Choose the Best Energy ProviderYou can use a reputable comparison site such as Money Supermarket which is probably the fastest and easiest way to compare Gas and Electricity prices. When you use Money Supermarket it will also direct you straight through to a chosen supplier if you choose to switch.

Once you have made your decision and chosen the best energy supplier in the UK you could even consider using a service such as uSwitch to switch providers without the hassle of having to communicate between your new and old provider yourself.

The uSwitch service is extremely pain free and there is no cost to use the service. If you want to go that one step further and really save those pennies you could also use uSwitch through one of the highest paying cashback services, TopCashback which pay up to £28 cashback to switch energy provider in the UK.

Which is the Best Energy Tariff?

Before you get started it’s important to know the different types of tariff that are out there, some may come under different names but the majority fall under the below labels. When making a decision to switch you need to clarify what exactly you will get with the tariff you choose and if there are any charges or exit fees to change from your current supplier.

Read the terms and conditions of each tariff carefully as they will differ between energy suppliers in the UK.

  • The Variable Tariff: With a variable tariff the price you pay for electricity fluctuates with what it costs the company to produce that electricity. That means that when things like oil are cheap your rate will likely decrease. On the other hand you have no protection should the price of source materials skyrocket.
  • The Fixed Tariff: The fixed tariff will keep the cost you pay per unit at a stable rate. You’ll pay a bit more when the price of source materials are low but you’ll save when the cost of source materials rise. Unlike variable tariffs, however, you’ll be locked into your contract for at least a year. So think before you take this option.
  • Capped tariffs: Capped tariffs are a kind of hybrid between the variable and fixed tariffs and thus can be somewhat confusing. If it costs the producer less to generate power then you’ll save, also knows as a variable tariff. However you’re going to pay a higher base rate than you’d pay with a standard fixed tariff so you may wind up saving little or nothing.
  • Pre-Payment Tariffs: These tariffs are available for people who like to prepay for their gas and electric, you will have a prepayment meter which is usually situated outside your property and you will be given a card or token that you can top up via certain supermarkets or at the Post Office. The prepayment gas and electric tariff is usually chosen by individuals who find it easier to manage their finances by monitoring exactly how much they are spending. Please be aware this tariff is usually the most expensive option with the most expensive rates.
  • Green Energy Tariffs: Most utility providers in the UK that offer a Green Energy tariff are usually concious about reducing their carbon footprint and normally somewhat involved with generating their own renewable energy. A Green Energy Tariff can mean one of two things, the supplier will match your usage with that from a renewable energy source or it will contribute to a green energy scheme on your behalf. These tariffs are great if you want to do your bit for the environment.

Now that we’re all on the same page regarding tariff options here are some other things to keep in mind when searching for a new energy provider.

What to Consider when Switching Energy Providers

  • Switching is normal: Large companies are constantly looking for better deals, you should too. Don’t be shy about taking advantage of competition and an ever-changing market to secure yourself the best deal possible.
  • The company you knew probably doesn’t exist anymore: A lot of people pick a brand based on what they grew up with. Problem is, while the brand name may still exist chances are better than good the company has been sold and resold so many times it no longer exists, at least as you knew it. So keep an open mind and look at what everyone has to offer.
  • Determine your level of risk aversion: If you’re a bit of a gambler you may want to go with an unproven provider and a variable tariff. If you’re more of a ‘play it safe type’ you’ll probably want to go with a fixed tariff from a provider with a proven record of outstanding customer service, even if it costs you a bit more.
  • Take the time to look at comparison websites: There are a lot of them out there, including diverse-energy.com, and they’re good sources of information that can help you make an informed decision. You’ll do well though to verify any claims made on these sites that seem too good to be true or run contrary to the facts as you understand them.
  • Listen to what others are saying: Often times the best source of information about a company is their current customer base. Many consumer websites will have information on various energy companies as well as space for people to air their grievances and the company’s current customer satisfaction rating.
  • Be thorough: Simply reading a few brochures and asking your next door neighbour isn’t really going to be enough to get a clear picture of your options. Because the energy landscape shifts so frequently today you really need to step back and conduct a thorough examination before making any decisions.
  • Make sure you read any contracts before you sign: This may seem like the kind of common sense thing everyone does, but in reality many people just buy the marketing and neglect the fine print. However, the devil, as the old saying goes, is in the details. And nowhere is that more apparent than when it comes to signing a contract with an energy provider.
  • Explore alternatives: Often consumers searching for a new energy provider will fail to investigate alternative producers; those who generate their power from wind, sun, water or other renewable or otherwise sustainable sources. Power is power though, and so it’s worth looking into alternatives. You may be pleasantly surprised.
  • Install a smart meter: Installing a smart meter can help you save money regardless of which company you choose to be your energy provider. A smart meter will show you which hours of the day your energy use spikes and provide you relevant information on your energy consumption habits. This will in turn allow you to make adjustments to your lifestyle that can save you money.
  • Be patient: The one factor that will, more than any other, determine if you find the right energy provider at the right price will be your level of patience with the process. It never pays in the long run to be in a hurry when it comes to such things as you’ll almost always wind up paying more than you should. So take a deep breath and accept that the process will take some time.

The search for the right energy company is not the straightforward process it was in your parent’s time. Privatization and other forces have turned what was a simple to understand energy landscape dominated by one or two players into a multifaceted cornucopia of competing companies large and small offering energy produced by everything from splitting the atom to harnessing ocean waves. In the end though the best deals always go to the best informed. So make sure to investigate all your options and you’re sure to find a dependable product at a fair price.


How to Generate Your Own Energy at Home

Microgeneration: Alternative Energy in the Home

If you are wanting to generate your own energy at home and are thinking of removing your home from the established power grid, it is possible in theory and even practical in some cases. What it’s not is a simple matter of Generate Your Own Energy at Homesticking a windmill on your roof, cutting the cord and living happily ever after without energy bills. After all, renewable, home-brew style energy generation has been around in various guises for decades, so it follows that if it was easy as 1-2-3 millions of people would have done it. Still, as we said, it is possible and sometimes even the preferred way of providing for your energy needs. Here are a few of the major reasons people decide to disconnect from the grid.

  • Philosophical reasons: Some folks just don’t like the idea of being dependent on huge private companies for life’s essentials
  • The environment: There are those who feel the world’s dependence on fossil fuels is a mistake. For them generating their own power is a social responsibility
  • Cost: You could potentially save money by generating your own renewable energy supply

Ways to Generate Your Own Power

You may want to consider a hybrid system where you generate some power from a home generation device and then augment that with a limited amount of power from the grid. Staying attached to the grid can have advantages should problems arise with your home generation scheme.

That said let’s look at some of the most dependable ways to generate power at home.

Wind Turbine

Before making hard and fast plans to install a wind turbine you need to poll local officials and find out if it’s even allowed. In some cases you’ll be able to proceed without official permission. In other cases though you’ll need to apply to your local planning authority, meaning there’s a chance you could be turned down. Let’s say there are no obstacles to your installing a wind turbine on your property. Where do you begin?

  • First you’ll need to determine if you want the home-mounted or freestanding version
  • Then you’ll need to decide if you want your new turbine plugged into the national grid
  • Then you’ll need to determine the right size for your energy needs

Once you’ve addressed those matters you’ll need to learn how to install such a device or find a qualified contractor to do the same. Even if you opt for the contractor it’s still in your interest to learn as much as you can about the process to avoid getting ripped-off.

Solar Panels

Whereas in the 80s solar units were typically bulky and generated only relatively small amounts of energy today’s solar panels are marvels of efficiency that can be installed on your roof with minimum disruption to your home’s normal operations. In a best case scenario a solar array may provide up to 50% of your average electricity needs.

Before you schedule solar panels to be installed however you’ll want to consider the following factors:

  • Available space: The larger the array the more electricity you can potentially generate. However, roof space is not an unlimited resource so you’ll need to determine exactly how many panels your roof will accommodate or find another place to put them
  • Direction and angle of your roof: Let’s assume that like most people you decide to install your solar array on the roof. You’ll now need to determine which parts of the roof will make an appropriate hosting area for your panels, which should face south at about a 35° angle
  • Removing obstacles: So you’ve decided to put your solar panels on the roof and found significant south facing space. However, there’s a large tree that casts shade on this part of the roof all afternoon. In such cases you’ll need to make difficult decisions: do you want the greenery and shade provided by the tree or is the solar power more important?
  • ROI: Return on investment with a solar array will vary from home to home. Keep in mind that if you rely on an outside contractor to handle all facets of the installation your ROI period will, in most cases (and generally speaking) may double


Hydro electricity has been a popular way to generate energy since the dawn of the electric age. It’s easy to do, clean and infinitely sustainable. In recent years a movement has taken hold to create tiny hydroelectric plants in streams on private property and that movement has taken the name “MicroHydro”. The advantage hydro has over solar or wind is that, barring drought, the water flows 24 hours a day 7 days a week. There is no real disadvantage to MicroHydro. The only downside is that not many people have an appropriately sized stream on their property flowing at the right angle.

Here’s the minimum of what you’d need to implement a MicroHydro system:

  • Flowing water with plenty of drop. At least 2 feet of drop between the start of your intake pipe and the turbine. More would be better
  • A professionally designed turbine, alternator and proper shelter for the system
  • An intake pipeline and a discharge point where water is returned to the stream
  • A power line to transfer the generated power to your home
  • A power inverter to convert generated raw power into AC power

As with most types of construction you’ll need to determine whether the local government will require you to apply for permits or some sort of special allowances for the system.

Final Things to Consider if you want to Generate Your Own Energy at Home

The most important thing is to consider all the potential ramifications of going off-grid before you decide to make the leap. Even if you are considering a partial disconnect where you generate some of your own electricity you still need to consider the impact to your home and/or property, maintenance costs and what happens if the system should suffer a catastrophic failure; say after a violent storm.

To learn more about alternative energy sources and how to make them work for you peruse the diverse-energy.com website and feel free to contact us with any questions.

How Servicing Your Boiler Can Save Energy and Money

Why do I need to Service my Boiler?

Keeping a boiler in good working condition is probably more important than people realise and it doesn’t come as a shock to discover that most people completely forget to service their boiler. When trying to juggle a busy lifestyle it’s understandable that servicing a boiler gets pushed to the back of the queue on the list of things to do.

Unless you are a plumber or gas engineer boilers will probably seem like a complete minefield! Common questions people ask:Gas Boiler Servicing UK

  • Why should I service my boiler?
  • How often do I need to service my boiler?
  • What will happen if I don’t service my boiler?
  • How much does it cost to service my boiler?

Today’s boilers are precision machinery and just as your car needs a yearly MOT your boiler should have an annual service. The main reason you should service your boiler is down to safety, a faulty boiler can leak CO (carbon monoxide) poisoning. Carbon monoxide is a silent killer which according to government statistics kills around 50 people per year and hospitalises 200 people.

The second reason boiler servicing is essential is that you can reduce your energy bills and in turn save money. If an engineer can assure your boiler is working as efficiently as possible this will prevent you wasting your hard earned cash on excess energy.

Benefits of Servicing Your Boiler

Winters in the UK can fluctuate so it’s crucial to make sure your boiler is always in top working condition. Not only will a well-maintained boiler always be there to deliver the heat when you need it but it will also ensure you’re not tossing money to the wind for no reason. The experts at Ramsbottom Heating recommend maintenance for the following reasons:

Efficient maintenance reduces the need for repairs

Like any other type of high-tech machinery, a neglected boiler will be more prone to breaking down. Breakdowns of course mean expensive repairs that could have been avoided if the unit had been properly cared for in the first place. Maintenance checks will spot tiny issues before they morph into big problems thereby allowing you to keep more of your money in your wallet where it belongs.

Routine maintenance insures safe operation

Having your boiler inspected on a regular basis will help ensure that all the vital parts are in safe working order. Since boilers utilize combustible materials to generate heat and hot water it’s important that the flame safeguards, the safety release valve and other key components are working their best. If they’re not you may experience expensive accidents that could cost more than mere money.

A well-maintained boiler is more efficient

A dirty boiler is an inefficient boiler. An inefficient boiler is one that will require more fuel to do its job. More fuel equals bigger energy bills and, well, you see where this is going. By keeping your boiler clean and properly tuned it will make the most of the expensive fuel you feed it and keep energy bills as low as possible.

Good maintenance prolongs your boiler’s life

Just as with a car if you keep your boiler well maintained it will not only run more efficiently, it will last longer. Regular maintenance checks will prolong the life of your boiler as a well-trained technician can spot things others would miss like tiny cracks and leaks that could undermine the integrity of the unit. In the end you’ll save big by not having to replace the boiler.

Holding on to an old boiler is money down the drain 

Even if you take good care of your boiler it will reach a point one day where it’s been left behind by technological advances. Holding on to it then simply becomes an exercise in throwing money down the drain. Sure a new boiler will not be cheap but you’ll recoup much of the expense in just a few years through energy savings. As a rule you’ll want to replace your boiler if:

  • It’s more than 15 years old – As stated no matter how well-maintained your boiler is if it’s more than 15 years old it’s time to swap it out for a more efficient one.
  • It’s breaking down regularly – If you’re calling the repairman more than once or twice a year at most, then it’s time to put your boiler out to pasture.
  • Your energy bills are rising for no apparent reason –  If your boiler is starting to gobble up energy at an alarming rate it’s time to give it the gold watch treatment and show it the door.
  • It’s making loud unexplained noises – If this is the case have the repairman over for a look. What you’ll likely hear is that some elements of the HVAC system need to be replaced.

Whether you’re holding on to an old boiler or just not giving your current boiler the TLC it needs you’re throwing money away. It’s true that boiler maintenance isn’t done for free, but the amount of money you’ll save by not having to have your boiler constantly repaired or even prematurely replaced will more than offset the maintenance costs.

How Much Will it Cost to Service My Boiler?

Servicing Your BoilerFirstly you will need to find and choose a Gas Safe registered heating engineer to carry out the work. We would advise using this boiler servicing check list provided by Which.com to ensure you get the best boiler service.

According to Which.com it should cost between £53 – £72 to service a boiler in the UK and can take around 1-1.5 hours. Several factors can affect boiler servicing prices in the UK, most obvious one is house location with prices generally being higher in the South. Second is time of year, most people wait to service their boiler when they start to use it again in the winter so prices are usually cheaper in the Spring and Summer.