Age Scotland Energy Rights Officer Callum Boath, has been travelling across Scotland giving our member groups advice on how to stay warm whilst also reducing your fuel bills in the winter months. In his guest blog he shares his three top tips to keeping warm and well.
With the winter now well and truly upon us it’s important that we know what we are entitled to, where we can ask for support and, probably most importantly, reduce our fuel bills!
It’s quite amazing how much has changed over the last few decades. Our energy is set to be monitored in a new way with smart meters, our electricity is now being generated in part by renewable technologies and there’s a plethora of new energy suppliers on the market. Yes, long gone are the days of getting our gas from the Gas Board and electricity from the Electric Board. There are now almost 30 energy suppliers on the market and that number is only set to increase.
So, what are we entitled to and who do we speak to to get it? Here are three top tips.
Make sure you are getting the best deal
It is said that changing energy supplier could save people anywhere between £100 and £300 a year. However, with their being so many suppliers on the market, trying to get in contact with them would be a part time job! You could try online, but some people aren’t that way inclined and don’t feel comfortable giving personal information online. So, what do you do? We would normally encourage people to check with Citrus Energy, an impartial switching service based in Scotland. They offer free advice and also switch you over the phone and send all of the information through the post. If you want to give them a call for a chat you can get them on 0800 221 8089.
Check if you are eligible for extra support
Check if you’re eligible for the Warm Homes Discount. This could be £140 off of your electricity bill during the winter and often people are unaware of they are eligible for it. Not every supplier offers it but, if they do, and you receive pension credits, you should receive it automatically. There’s also the chance you can receive it if your income is under £16,100 and you are spending over 10% of your income on your energy. There are several ways to be eligible for it so contact your energy supplier or contact Citrus Energy who will try and pair you with a supplier who offers it.
Ensure your heating is up to scratch
Is your home cold and draughty? Was your heating system in with the bricks? It’s always difficult making the decision to change an old heating system because of how expensive it is but it could be that you’re eligible for support in changing it for a new one. You can contact Home Energy Scotland who are a free and impartial advice service who will let you know if you are eligible for any funding or grants from the Scottish Government. We’ve all had the cold calls offering us free heating systems but Home Energy Scotland will give you the correct advice. They can be contacted on 0808 808 2282.
All of these savings to be made without even changing a lightbulb to an LED one! But if you’d like more advice about simple ways to reduce your fuel bills and just have a general chat you can give the Age Scotland Helpline a call on 0800 12 44 222 and we’d be more than happy to discuss it with you.
The Warm and Well project offers to come out to groups of people to deliver a session about how to make your money go a little further in the winter and what people could be entitled to. If you’d like to arrange one of these session contact firstname.lastname@example.org