A Pembrokeshire energy initiative is offering advice and support to help people cope with the energy crisis.

With the cold and dark nights drawing in and energy prices further increasing this winter, we’re all searching for creative ways to gain control of our energy use, taking steps towards good energy habits not to mention outing the ‘energy vampire’ appliances in our homes.

Pembrokeshire Smarter Energy Support Service recommends installing a smart meter as a first step in getting to grips with energy consumption and where to make economies.

A smart meter is a device that records how much electricity and/or gas your household is using. It comes with an in-home display (IHD) which allows customers to see how much energy they are using in near-real time and in pounds and pence.

This means that customers can keep track of their energy use and work out how much various devices are costing them to run. Using the IHD households could identify ways to reduce their energy waste, for example turning the TV off at the wall rather than leaving it on standby.

Having a smart meter installed ensures customers get a bill based on the energy you’ve used, rather than an estimate, which could help them to better manage budgets.

Knowing what a bill will be could also help reduce the stress of receiving unexpected amount at the end of the month.

Smart meters are available at no extra cost from energy suppliers. If you're the account holder who pays the energy bills, you are automatically entitled to one, whether you are in rented accommodation or own your own home.

For some customers accessible in-home displays (AIHD) are available, which have larger buttons and can read your data aloud. You can check with your energy supplier to find out if you are eligible for an AIHD.

For those who find it hard to reach or read their energy meter, an IHD or AIHD can be placed in an easily visible location.

To find out more about getting a smart meter, simply contact your energy provider who will install your smart meter at no extra cost.

Pembrokeshire residents can also access advice and support from Pembrokeshire Smarter Energy Support Service, a local based community organisation who can be contacted on 01239 920201 or email energy@cwmarian.org.uk