Did you know staying warm is particularly important for older people and those with long-term health conditions? This Big Energy Saving Week, why not help your elderly relatives pay less for heating?
Global energy prices are increasing and are set to continue on that upward trajectory for the foreseeable future. This is worrying news for older people on low or fixed incomes who may struggle to afford the increasing prices. Some may now be in a position where they feel they have to limit their heating and hot water use.
This Big Energy Saving Week, we are sharing some information and advice on reducing your energy usage and looking at what help is available.
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Why are energy prices rising?
We are experiencing a global energy crisis. This means there is an ongoing shortage of energy across the world, wholesale energy prices have spiked and smaller energy firms are being forced to shut up shop. When the world started to recover from the Covid-19 pandemic, the global need for energy went up. As a direct result of this, suppliers were unable to meet the increased demand – in addition, the actual cost of energy increased at the wholesale level, pushing commercial and residential energy prices up. The consequences of this are clear to see, with the average household likely to face an increase in their utility bill in 2022. For some, that could be as much as £200-£400 per year, placing a serious squeeze on household finances.
As we have just noted, the price increase has seen several small, and medium UK energy suppliers go bust in 2021. If your energy supplier goes out of business, you don’t need to do anything, so it’s important not to panic. OFGEM will move your account to a new supplier at the same rate, and you won’t have any interruption to your supply.
Be a good neighbour and check that elderly friends and neighbours are warm and well. Some people are more vulnerable, & can become isolated in the winter months, and the cold weather can have a serious impact on their health. Buckinghamshire Council
What is the Big Energy Saving Campaign?
It’s vital that older people don’t go without heating or hot water, especially during the cold winter months. Understandably they may be concerned about their finances, so Citizens Advice and the Energy Saving Trust have come together and created The Big Energy Saving Campaign. This campaign was created to deliver key energy advice to people to help them save money by providing guidance and signposting several schemes available to help the most vulnerable households keep warm this winter.
What help is available?
A variety of help is available through benefits, grants and schemes to help people likely to struggle the most. Here is a summary of some of the support available:
Warm Home Discount
If you or your elderly loved one is receiving pension credits, you may be able to apply for an additional £140 from the government, which can be used to help pay your energy bill.
Winter Fuel Payment
Anyone born before the 26th of September 1955 could get between £100 and £300 to help pay their heating bill under the winter fuel payment scheme.
The Citizen’s Advice Bureau is able to distribute vouchers to people struggling to pay their fuel bills. Contact your local office for more information on this.
Age UK is urging older people to call its free national advice line on 0800 169 65 65 before turning the heating off or down to check they are receiving all the financial support available to them, and to be aware that energy suppliers have a duty to offer support if people are struggling with bills or debt.
No one should have to live in fuel poverty. Help and advice is available for anyone concerned about or struggling to pay their energy bills. For more information and advice, please click here.