Energy bills: How to reduce costs
Alban Hawksworth of Elizabeth Finn Care financial support charity writes: With rising energy bills and the upheaval in the welfare system, many people on low incomes are feeling the pressure as they try to make ends meet.
People are finding a serious shortfall on their housing and heating costs, and they don’t feel they have information about what they might be entitled to.
Our research shows nearly two-thirds (64 per cent) of people are uncertain if they can meet these costs this winter without financial hardship.
And more than two-thirds (70 per cent) are unaware that energy suppliers have to offer cheaper ‘social tariffs’ to their most vulnerable customers.
The Prime Minister would like the UK government to legislate to ensure energy companies always offer the lowest possible tariff but it’s going to be hard to do in practice. The complex pricing structure still operated by the energy companies makes it very difficult for people to find the best deal.
A lot of people also don’t realise the government has a Warm Front Scheme that provides funding for insulation and heating improvements, or that certain welfare benefits and tax credits can trigger eligibility for fuel poverty schemes.
There is help out there. As part of our Acting on Fuel Poverty campaign, we’re offering households a financial MOT. Our microsite, Are You In Fuel Poverty, helps people identify if they can maximise their income and reduce their energy costs in readiness for their winter bill.