South Hams residents can help manage the cost of living crisis by turning down boilers and thermostats, according to a leading councillor. 

The tips were among the topics discussed at an executive meeting of South Hams District Council (SHDC) on Thursday 13 October.

Conservative councillor for Woolwell and executive lead for cost of living Nicky Hopwood outlined some of the help available to households struggling with rising bills and other costs. 

In addition to the £150 payment for residents claiming council tax reduction in most bands, Cllr Hopwood outlined plans for families with one child to receive £100 and those with more than one child to receive £165. 

But Cllr Hopwood also offered personal tips on how to cut energy use and fuel bills.  She suggested people could do more at home to manage the situation. 

“I think it is also crucial that residents know how to save money wherever possible with their gas and electric,” Cllr Hopwood suggested.

“For instance, did you know you can turn the hot water temperature down on your boiler so that the water isn’t heated up to 60 degrees? What’s the point of putting boiling water into a bowl straight from the tap and then adding cold water to cool it down? Turn down the temperature of the hot water in the beginning.”

Cllr Hopwood explained she had been trying several ways to cut energy costs in her home.

“Over the past week, I’ve tried various temperatures in my boiler and now have the hot water set at 48 degrees instead of the 60 it was,” she said.  

“Turn thermostats down to the frost settings in rooms that you don’t use. These two tips alone will stop unnecessary gas being used and help you save.”

Councillors on the executive agreed to endorse the cost-of-living response plan and instruct officers to take immediate steps to progress support payments to families in receipt of council tax reduction.