Here’s an email I recently sent out to local residents on keeping warm this winter. You can sign up to receive similar updates here.
News reports and weather forecasts predict a very cold month ahead for us. So now more than ever, a warm and well-insulated home is vital – particularly for the elderly and vulnerable people.
There are a number of Government grants and discount schemes to help people with the cost of their winter bills, and organisations that give out free advice. Here’s a summary:
The Winter Fuel Payment: anyone born on or before the 5th January 1952 is entitled to a tax free payment from the Government, ranging from £100-£300 to help with heating bills. This year, you should receive the payment automatically – but do let me know if you haven’t and I will chase it up.
The Warm Homes Discount is run jointly by the Government and energy companies, and gives recipients a £135 discount on bills. Find out if you’re eligible and check if your supplier takes part in the scheme.
There are also discounts or subsidies available if you want to add insulation to your property or convert to greener, more efficient energy. This Government energy grants calculator may be helpful in working out exactly what you’re entitled to.
The Home Heat Helpline offers free, impartial advice to people on low incomes who are worried about their energy costs and staying warm during winter. Their free contact number is 0800 33 66 99.
Finally, the Energy Saving Trust also provides tips on how to use energy more effectively, and advice on switching providers to get the best deal.
I hope this is helpful. If you have any questions about the above, or if I can be of help in any other way, just let me know.
Little point in concentrating on converting a property to use greener energy if the energy is going straight out of the building through doors, windows, walls and roof.
Energy prices are going to keep going up. We need to learn to live with it.
The Green Deal clearly isn’t effective in terms of the numbers of properties having insulation installed under the scheme – it’s pathetic. It also seems incredibly bureaucratic – the sort of scheme I’d expect from labour politicians.
How about some community schemes involving less bureaucracy and cost, taking actions such as:
Blocking up drafts using foam (from a dispenser or in strips) – job which could be done on a volunteer basis by anyone with a little DIY competence – and/or maybe providing some work experience to unemployed people,
Identifying the room of the property with the greatest need of insulation and retro-fitting insulation inside that room – needs a bit more DIY expertise.