As the nights begin to draw in and the weather turns colder, a new campaign has launched to support vulnerable households in England who might be worrying about how to pay for their heating bills this winter.
The latest statistics* for 2017 reveal one in ten homes in England are 'fuel poor' which means their energy costs are above average and their remaining disposable income after paying their bills puts them below the poverty line.
In response OFTEC, which represents the oil heating industry, has launched a campaign to provide support and advice to vulnerable households on how to reduce their fuel costs without having to turn down the heating.
They are also providing details of the energy payment and saving schemes available. These include:
Winter Fuel Payment
- Most people over 65 are entitled to the Winter Fuel Payment to help with heating costs. This is a tax-free payment of between £100 and £300 paid to you between November and December. If it's the first year you are eligible, contact the Winter Fuel Payment helpline to ensure you don't miss out on 0800 731 0160.
Cold Weather Payment
- If you receive Pension Credit, or certain other benefits, you may be able to claim a Cold Weather Payment when the temperature is at 0°C (32°F) or below for seven days in a row.
Warm Home Discount
- You may be entitled to a Warm Home Discount on your electricity bill if you receive Pension Credit or if you are on a low income. This is a one-off discount usually made between September and March.
Energy Companies Obligation (ECO) Scheme
- The ECO scheme could help you with the cost of improving your home's energy efficiency and reduce your fuel bills if you are on a low income and receive certain means-tested benefits, such as Pension Credit, or live in a home that would be costly and difficult to make more efficient.
Help with insulation
- The Energy Saving Trust may be able to help you with financial support to draught-proof your doors and windows, insulate your loft, insulate your hot-water tank and pipes and install cavity-wall insulation which will help to keep your home warm and your bills down.
Malcolm Farrow, from OFTEC said: "Sadly, we know that many households in England will struggle with their heating costs this winter which is why it is crucial those living in fuel poverty know about the benefits and schemes that may be available to them as well as advice on how vulnerable households can improve efficiency and cut heating costs without compromising on warmth and safety."