Image of 5 people sharing stories

Moving to cleaner home energy: our customers share their stories

Customer stories

We’re sharing five real-life customer stories. Whether it’s a small change or a bigger investment, each customer has made the decision to adjust the way they live to help the environment. Their experiences demonstrate the variety of ways we all can make a difference, be it switching to an electric vehicle, installing a heat pump, getting home insulation, fitting a smart thermostat or adding solar panels.

Picture of Jen, a customer who has fitted insulation in her home

Insulation

A blanket for your home: why Jen chose insulation to help protect the environment and lower her energy bills

Jen, West Midlands

Jen lives with her husband and children. A lover of the outdoors, she’s noticed changes in the weather in recent years - so she’s increasingly conscious of her carbon footprint. Jen's husband is a roofer and has been researching how they can be more energy efficient.

Along with helping to protect the environment, Jen is also keen to take steps to help keep her family’s energy costs down. Here we talk to Jen about her experience of having her home insulated and what the benefits have been.

What got you thinking about how you use energy?

"We’re really outdoorsy people, we go camping a lot and my daughter does horse riding. Being outside a lot, I’ve noticed how the weather is more extreme nowadays. The change in weather got me thinking about our carbon footprint and how we can help look after the environment. And obviously, the cost of energy is a big issue as well. For me, thinking about the environment goes hand in hand with keeping our energy bills low. So we’re really careful about our energy consumption, we don’t have the heating on a massive amount, and we try not to leave lights on."

What were your main reasons for choosing insulation?

"I just hate the thought of waste, to be honest. It’s almost like… why would you work really hard, spend money on heating your house, and then open all the windows and let that heat out?"

"To me, insulation is like wrapping your house in a blanket - it’s just a simple step to keep warm and it makes sense. Anything you can do to be more efficient, from both a financial perspective and an environmental one, is a win-win for me."

When did you decide to insulate your home?

"My husband is a roofer and he was doing the renovation on our house. We did quite a lot of research and were careful to make sure we abided by all the planning regulations. It was when we added an extension on to our house, he infilled the walls and did the loft at the same time. It made total sense for us."

What would you say the benefits of insulation have been?

"Lower bills is the main one. Obviously our bills are lower because we don’t need to use as much energy. When other people saw their bills increase a lot, we weren’t as impacted by that, the insulation means it costs us less to heat our home. Other benefits are also reduced energy consumption and a warmer home, with less energy wasted. It’s had a positive impact on our carbon footprint too, and hopefully helps benefit the environment."

Picture of Stephen, a customer who has installed a smart thermostat

Smart thermostat

A smart decision: how a smart thermostat gave Stephen greater control of his home energy

Stephen, Northampton

Stephen does what he can to keep the cost of his home’s energy down. Just as energy prices were increasing, his previous energy supplier got in touch with him about a smart thermostat system, so Stephen decided to have one installed. Here he shares what the installation process was like and why a smart thermostat suits his lifestyle.

Would you say you’re conscious of your home’s carbon emissions and, if so, does it affect your lifestyle?

"I do make conscious choices where I can. We’ve moved over to a hybrid car and at home we try to do things that keep costs down. This includes making sure we don’t leave things on standby, like games consoles and computers. We always turn those off when we’re not using them."

What was your main motivation for getting a smart thermostat?

"The idea of saving money was a real motivation, plus the convenience of a smart thermostat. We have more control over when the heating is on or off and we can easily adjust it to suit our lifestyle. If I’m out and it suddenly gets cold, I can just switch the heating on from my phone and the house will be warm when we get home. Or if we’re visiting friends and the heating is due to come on at home, we can just switch it off. So we’ve got much better control."

What was the installation process like?

"I had my boiler serviced by my previous supplier and they gave us a good deal to get a smart thermostat installed at the same time. It seemed like a good moment to do it, knowing that in the long term it should save us money."

"The installation process was all really easy. They came and installed a box by the boiler and connected that all up. Then there’s a freestanding thermostat that I can put wherever I want. There wasn’t any drilling holes into the walls involved or anything like that, apart from just fitting this little box."

Had you done any research into smart thermostats?

"I had done a bit of research and spoken to a few people who already had smart thermostats, just to see what their experience was. I’m thinking about getting some smart thermostats for our radiators in the future, which let you control each individual radiator from your phone."

And is the smart thermostat easy to use?

"Oh, it’s really simple. You just press one button on the top of the thermostat box to turn the heating on, or you can use the app on your phone. Again that’s super simple, just push a button to boost your heating if you want to switch it on outside of your set timings."

Picture of Phil , a customer who has installed solar panels

Solar Energy

Power to the people: how installing solar panels helped Phil save money

Phil, Hull

Phil is retired and lives with his wife. Over the last 10 years, he’s been making improvements to his home in order to improve its energy efficiency - including the installation of solar panels. Phil’s decision was influenced by his desire to be kinder to the environment, and to save on his energy bills. Here, he talks us through the difference solar panels have made to his home and shares his tips for anyone interested in making a similar change.

Can you tell us what led to you getting solar panels fitted?

"This is the family home and we’ve lived here for 30 years. It’s just us two now but when we had three teenage kids living here, one of them loved taking very long showers and the electricity bills were mounting up. Plus when they had partners to stay with us, the cost of our energy was skyrocketing. So I felt I had to do something."

How long did you spend researching before you made your decision?

"We did look into it for quite a while though, because solar panels were quite expensive when we first started looking. In the end I got approached by somebody, it was pretty much a cold call. I was approached by a few other companies and we got, from what I’ve been told, the best solar panels money could buy at the time. It wasn’t cheap but we were assured we would make the money back in time. They actually generate more energy than expected now."

"Solar panels are one of the best investments I've ever made."

Would you say the solar panels have saved you money?

"Solar panels have made a massive difference to the cost of our electricity. They pay for themselves. I’m not only saving money through the energy that the solar panels are generating for us but I’m also able to sell excess energy back to the grid. I think we’ve got an average electricity use of about three or four kilowatts a day and that’s all covered by the solar panels. It costs me hardly anything, my electricity bill last month was about £10!"

What do you think the main benefits of having solar panels are?

"Well the first one is reduced electricity bills. Not only that, I’m also selling excess energy back to the grid. It’s a good feeling to know that you can produce something you used to pay for and get paid for it yourself. Plus you’re taking care of the environment at the same time."

What advice would you give to others who are thinking about getting them?

"Solar panels are one of the best investments I've ever made. Every month we save money. My advice to other people is to spend some time researching and to get the best solar panels you can afford."

Image of Anne, a customer who has switched to driving an EV

EV-Charging

Making the switch: how Anne travels cheaper thanks to her new EV

Anne, Suffolk

Like many people, Anne is worried about the the world today – and the future we’re leaving behind for the next generation. That’s why, when it comes to cleaner energy choices, she’s all for making changes to her lifestyle.

Anne believes we should do what we can to help reduce our impact on the environment. And as a proud owner of an electric vehicle (EV), Anne is doing just that – by lowering her carbon footprint. We asked her about the decision to switch up her transport, and how she’s getting along now.

Congratulations on your new EV, Anne. How do you like it?

"I’m very happy with it. I've already told everyone I know about how lovely it is to drive - it’s so smooth. And what strikes me the most about electric vehicles is the simplicity, they haven't got all that stuff under the bonnet that other cars have."

How was the home charging installation?

"It was so easy to install the charger and quick. The engineer took around two hours to connect and set it up, and he tested everything thoroughly. Some people charge their EV from a normal electric socket but my charger is far safer. The charger is weatherproof, comes with surge protection and there’s no need for an extension cable. And, of course, I can set a timer for the car to be charged overnight using the cheap rate from my new tariff."

How did you get used to charging your car at home?

"I was a bit worried about how to manage charging the car, but it's really easy to work. People are always amazed that I got an electric car. But I do believe we have to move with the times."

And when you’re out and about?

"I mainly drive longer distances to see my daughters, and haven’t had any problems finding a charge point on the way."

"I haven't had any problems charging my car on-the-go. As long as you plan your route to get you where you need to charge up, you're all right."

What made you decide to switch to electric?

"I was thinking it over for a while, but getting a big service bill for the old petrol car made me realise it was time to upgrade. The rising cost of petrol made it worth looking into electric vehicles."

Have you converted anyone else to an EV?

"I actually have some friends who not only have an EV, but they charge it at home using the electricity that they've generated from their solar panels, which is lovely, lovely!"

Has it helped you to save money?

"Oh yes, I’ve switched to a 2-rate energy tariff to make sure I’m not spending too much on charging. If you charge your car from eleven at night to seven in the morning, it's cheaper."

Photo of an air source heat pump

Low-carbon heating

An environmentally friendly home: how a heat pump helped Mike create a more energy efficient house

Mike, Yorkshire

Mike is a big advocate for energy efficiency and advises his local church on how to make their own energy savings. And with a background in teaching, he wants to help educate people about making cleaner energy choices. Mike is committed to trying to reduce his energy use and, as someone who also enjoys improving his home, he was keen to see how energy efficient he could make his house. Here Mike talks us through his decision to invest in a heat pump and how it’s affected his energy bills.

What made you decide to have a heat pump installed?

"I feel it’s my duty to try and reduce my energy use. My thinking is that if I can do it, then that might persuade others to give it a go and together we can make a difference. My focus was also on becoming as energy efficient as this property will allow me. We’d been thinking about getting a heat pump for quite a while. I’d spent time researching our options and had started making energy efficient changes as and when we could afford it. The increase in gas prices was a deciding factor for us in terms of getting the heat pump installed."

How did you go about deciding which energy-efficient steps to take first?

"We started from the roof downwards really. I was conscious that I didn't want to lose any of the warmth being generated by the heat pump, so I also had some insulation fitted both externally and internally. It made sense to me to make sure the fabric of the house was as energy efficient as it could be before we made other investments."

What was the heat pump installation process like for you?

"The heat pump itself was installed in early 2021 during very cold weather. The great thing is that this wasn’t a problem. It worked perfectly fine despite the low temperatures, and it’s now been through two cold winters without an issue."

"I found that once it adjusts to the local climate, your home’s energy-efficiency levels rise quite a lot - and the savings start to come in."

Has it saved you money?

"Firstly, I did notice that my electricity use went up quite a bit when it was installed. However, I was able to budget for this and, as we review our energy use every six months or so, I could keep track of it. This meant I could easily compare the cost of my bills with the operating costs of the heat pump. When it was first installed, it provided a saving of 35% compared to using gas - which seemed almost miraculous to me. The operating costs have increased since then, but the overall energy requirement has actually dropped by another 12%."

What do you think the main benefits of getting a heat pump installed have been?

"We’ve reduced our carbon emissions while maintaining consistent heating and boosting our energy efficiency. Admittedly, the heat pump does run at lower temperatures but nevertheless it has saved us a lot of money."