David's blog

Get set for Winter - 10:16 am, Tue 29th Nov 2011

The rising cost of fuel is an issue that many people raise with me and I’m sure it will be at the front of many people’s minds now that the temperatures are starting to fall.

I am a keen supporter of the Winter Fuel Allowance and have been calling for the Government to reverse the reduction that they imposed soon after the General Election. I have also been very pleased to see Labour Leader Ed Miliband calling for reforms to the energy market here in the UK to put the profits of the big companies back into consumers’ pockets.

I will continue to campaign for change, but unfortunately this will not come over night. I thought I would write this blog to point out a few schemes that may help you to manage rising energy prices today.


Toasty Bolton

Homeowners and private rented tenants in Bolton can apply for free loft and cavity wall insulation. This would usually cosy £350 to install and could save as much as £250 a year in household energy bills.

For more information or to book a free home survey visit www.getmetoasty.com or call the Energy Saving Trust on freephone 0800 512 012.

British Gas
British Gas customers can take advantage of the company’s offer to insulate their homes free if they apply before 22nd December 2011.

Customers on lower incomes, whoever their supplier is, can also call a special helpline to see if they are eligible for free insulation or discounted bills (the Home Heat Helpline on 0800 980 8177).

Keep Yourself Warm
If you need tips on how to keep warm then visit Age UK's website. They have an excellent online guide with plenty of useful information. http://www.ageuk.org.uk/get-involved/spread-the-warmth/tips-on-keeping-warm-this-winter/

Apply for what you’re entitled to
£1 in every £4 of the benefits available go unclaimed – a staggering £12.7 billion a year. Most of this unclaimed entitlement comes from income support; pension credit; housing benefit; council tax benefit and Jobseeker’s Allowance. However, there are a host of other benefits, including a new Warm Homes Discount which will give every person on pension credit an energy bill rebate of £120.

Charities such as Citizen’s Advice and Age UK are able to talk you through what you may be eligible for and even apply on your behalf – I would urge people to give them a call or drop in to a centre if you need help with this.

Bolton Citizen’s Advice Bureau - 0844 826 9707

Age Concern Bolton - 72/74, Ashburner Street, Bolton, BL1 1TN
01204 382411

The Home Heat Helpline - 0800 33 66 99 or www.homeheathelpline.org.uk

Winter

While help with insulation and financial assistance is available there are other simple steps people can take to save on energy costs and keep warm. 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
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