Age Scotland’s Policy Officer, Greg McCracken, asks blog readers about their experiences of fuel bills, price increases and energy efficiency measures.
Staff at Age Scotland have been hearing more and more about older householders across the country experiencing significant increases in their fuel bills despite having installed energy efficiency measures in their homes. Now, we’re looking for people to participate in case studies which we can use in our lobbying work.
While energy efficiency measures – and in particular new heating systems such as Air Source Heat Pumps or Electric Wet Heating Systems – are supposed to save money and reduce fuel bills, we’ve been told that some people have actually seen their fuel bills increase to over £2,100 per year.
Just to put that in context, that’s nearly a third of your state pension going up in smoke!
A recent report by Consumer Focus Scotland revealed that, while many of these heating systems can deliver improvements, there can be significant costs for householders who are not effectively instructed how to use their new system.
Furthermore, where some modern heating systems such as Air Source Heat Pumps are installed in housing that is older, or isn’t fully insulated (including, for example, solid wall insulation), the system will not be able to operate effectively and will, therefore, cost more to run than it should.
Right now, the Scottish Government is consulting on its Sustainable Housing Strategy. We want to ensure this strategy is genuinely fit for purpose and reflects the reality of older people living across Scotland.
Age Scotland always encourages older people to undertake a benefits check to make sure they’re getting all the support to which they’re entitled, or to switch providers and ensure they’re on the cheapest tariff. However, with bills in excess of £2,000 in some cases, it’s unlikely that either of these would be more than tinkering around the edges.
That’s why we’re extremely keen to hear if you’ve experienced a similar story to those above. Age Scotland wants to develop case studies where people’s bills have risen despite making changes to their home’s energy efficiency. For example, have you:
- Installed a new heating system, only to find that your bills haven’t gone down?
- Received a grant or advice from the Energy Saving Trust for a new system that hasn’t reduced your bills?
- Had a new system installed but not been instructed how to use it?
If you tell us your story, we will use your experience absolutely anonymously if that’s what you would prefer. Your personal testimony is so important to strengthening our messages, so if you’d be interested in participating, contact firstname.lastname@example.org, or telephone 0845 833 9332.