New figures reveal that in Renfrewshire, 10,300 homes are entitled to some form of assistance with their fuel bills. That help is worth an average of £250 per household and a free helpline is available for more information.
Lending his support to the campaign, George Adam, Paisley’s Member of the Scottish Parliament, said, “Around 10,300 homes in Renfrewshire are entitled to some form of support. Anyone who is concerned about staying warm should call the Home Heat Helpline and seek advice. I would also ask people to look out for neighbours, friends or relatives who may be in difficulty and make sure that they are aware of the Home Heat Helpline.”
The number for the Home Heat Helpline is 0800 33 66 99 or you can visit www.homeheathelpline.org.uk. It is a free service that provides independent advice to people on low incomes on how to get help with their gas and electricity bills as well as other help such as grants for insulation or a new boiler.
As well as supporting the campaign locally, George recently attended a briefing in the Scottish Parliament to raise awareness of the helpline.
Christine McGourty from the Home Heat Helpline also advises people to think about what they can do around the home to reduce their energy consumption:
“As well as calling the Home Heat Helpline to find out what financial assistance is available there are some other simple steps people can take. For example:
• turn radiators down in rooms which you only use occasionally
• switch your lights off when you’re not using them
• turn appliances like TVs and phone chargers off at the wall rather than leaving them on standby when they’re not being used
• replace normal light bulbs with energy efficient ones
• regularly defrost your freezer to make sure it’s operating at full efficiency
• draw curtains over windows at night to provide insulation for the room
• move furniture away from radiators and heaters to allow heat to circulate around the room
• open internal doors of any rooms which get more sun than others and let the warm air travel around your home”
Home Heat Helpline: 0800 33 66 99 or www.homeheathelpline.org.uk
The Home Heat Helpline (0800 33 66 99) is a free, not-for-profit phone line to help people who are struggling to pay their energy bills and keep warm. People can also access the service online by visiting www.homeheathelpline.org.uk.
The Helpline is managed by the Energy Retail Association and paid for by contributions from Britain’s major energy suppliers (British Gas, EDF Energy, E.ON, RWE npower, SSE and ScottishPower). The service is backed by a range of organisations including Age UK; Citizens Advice; National Energy Action; Energy Saving Trust; Counsel and Care and Gingerbread.
The Helpline’s trained advisers can provide eligible callers with advice on:
• free or discounted home insulation
• discounts and rebate schemes
• the Priority Service Register, which can provide extra services for people who are elderly or disabled (including bills in large text or Braille, security passwords and an annual gas safety check)
• flexible payment options
• benefits entitlement checks
The Energy Retail Association set up a Safety Net procedure in 2004 to make sure that no vulnerable customer in Britain is knowingly disconnected from their electricity or gas supply at any time of year.
The New Policy Institute (NPI) was commissioned by the Home Heat Helpline to estimate the number of vulnerable households who are eligible for free CERT home insulation grants and other free help from their energy supplier in November 2011.