With the UK feeling the freeze, Your Saving Angels offers some tips on how vulnerable people can keep warm whilst keeping the cost down this winter.
Pensioners are one of the most vulnerable groups when it comes to cold weather, over 36,700 pensioners died of cold related illnesses last winter.
Fortunately, winter fuel payments were not completely axed under the spending review but they will be reduced by £50. Cold weather payments, the £25 paid to pensioners when the temperature drops below freezing, will be unaffected.
These subsidies will no doubt help, but if older people are smart when it comes to their energy they do not need to be afraid of using it. With careful consideration, Your Saving Angels say it is possible to cut bills without putting themselves at risk.
Check bills and switch tariffs and payment method to make great savings
It is essential not to ignore the bill when it arrives. If it is higher than expected then call the utility supplier concerned to discuss the possibility of setting up a direct debit and spread any arrears. Changing the method of payment can also result in substantial savings.
Pensioners should consider fixed price tariffs, as this will ensure that they are secure against inflation and shifting prices and allow them to budget more effectively.
Reading the meter
Providing regular meter readings, or even asking a member of the family to assist, will ensure that customers only pay for the energy they use rather than overpaying when they don’t need to.
Take advantage of loft and cavity wall insulation grants
Any household with a resident aged 70 or over, qualifies for a 100 per cent grant for insulation. Even those who don’t qualify should consider insulating their home as it can pay off in just a year.
Staying aware of your energy consumption, shopping around for the best deals and taking full advantage of the grants and assistance at hand are all important things to do during an unexpectedly cold period. Using the advice from sites like Your Saving Angels can help.
Join up to the Priority Services Register or energy suppliers’ own alternative version
All major energy suppliers are obliged to provide a range of free services to certain customers through the Priority Service Register (PSR). This is designed to ensure that the vulnerable can be easily identified and assisted – for example by providing alternative heating in case of planned interruption to your energy supply. Contact your energy supplier to find out if you’re eligible.
Check whether you fall into the fuel poverty category
Those who believe that they spend 10 per cent or more of their annual income on energy bills will likely be eligible for additional assistance from their energy supplier; they should offer a tariff equivalent to that of their cheapest.
Engage with providers
Energy providers will act responsibly – if they are contacted! If anyone is struggling to pay their bills their provider will offer energy efficiency advice, check whether they have a cheaper tariff available, or perhaps help with spreading the winter payments over the year, even if the payment is not by direct debit.
Your Saving Angels says pensioners should never put themselves at risk of the cold weather, as help is available if it is sought.
Let us know your thought on keeping warm this winter…