3.4m UK households owed help with energy bills
TV presenter Fiona Phillips is backing the campaign to encourage people to call a free helpline to find out if they are entitled to help with their energy costs, as 3.4m households are estimated to benefit despite being unaware that they could get help with their bills.
The Home Heat Helpline (0800 33 66 99) is a free, impartial and confidential service that connects people on low incomes with support which is worth an average of £160.
In some regions eligibility is even higher, for example in certain parts of Wales and the North West over a fifth of households are eligible for help, giving even more reason to pick up the phone.
The help available includes grants for insulation, new boilers, discount and rebate schemes.
Speaking to raise awareness of the Home Heat Helpline, Fiona Phillips said: “I remember all too well the worry of colder weather setting in and the bills I couldn’t pay when I was starting out, so I have huge sympathy for anyone who is struggling to keep warm this winter.
“That’s why I am encouraging those in need to call the Home Heat Helpline on 0800 33 66 99 or visit www.homeheathelpline.org.uk. Everyone is looking for ways to save money at the moment, so it’s definitely worth picking up the phone. It is absolutely free so you’ve got nothing to lose and possibly lots to gain.”
Christine McGourty from the Home Heat Helpline added: “As the weather gets colder and households turn on their heating, now is the ideal time to remind people that lots of help is available to keep warm, and that the Home Heat Helpline is there to assist them.
“We’re urging anyone on a low income, older people, families with young children and those with long-term health conditions to call the Home Heat Helpline to claim the free help they are entitled to in reducing their bills.”
There are also some other simple steps people can take in reducing their energy. For example:
• Turning your thermostat down by 1 degree Celsius could cut your heating bills by up to 10% and save you around £100 a year.
• 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