KEEP Herefordshire Warm is offering energy bill support to residents feeling the pinch in the backdrop of Fuel Poverty Awareness Day tomorrow (November 30).
The initiative provides support for people and families who are struggling to afford their energy bills.
H is completely free, and is tailored to the caller of the helpline, which may include contributions towards energy debt, support on applying for available funding for home improvements, advice on how to manage energy bills, and a free energy pack in the post with gadgets to be used around the home.
With winter starting to take hold, help is available for the 16% of households in Herefordshire that are reported to be in fuel poverty, which is higher than the national average for England.
Cllr Elissa Swinglehurst (Con, Llangarron), Cabinet Member for the Environment, said: “One of the keys to health and wellbeing is maintaining a properly warmed home, and it is vital that people can afford this. The Keep Herefordshire Warm service has been providing free home energy advice since 2001, and covers all homes in the county.
"The support on offer ranges from simple changes you can make to improve fuel efficiency, advice on reducing your energy bills, all the way to helping you access financial grants to help with insulation or heating.
"Even if you live in a warm home, keep an eye out for friends and neighbours who may be living in older properties this Fuel Poverty Awareness Day. If you suspect that someone may be struggling with the temperature of their home, or facing high energy bills, the best thing you can do is encourage them to call Keep Herefordshire Warm.”
Herefordshire Council is working with YES Energy Solutions, a Community Interest and a social enterprise, committed to helping as many people as possible to live in more affordable and efficient, warm homes.
The team has already helped over 300 people in Herefordshire and are ready to answer calls to answer any questions on staying warm and saving money.
YES Energy Solutions’ team have helped over 10,000 people across the country in the last three years to upgrade their homes to make them warmer and more affordable.
Duncan McCombie from YES Energy Solutions, says, "It’s tough out there, and we understand the huge challenges posed by high energy prices and the cost-of-living crisis across the county. If you’re struggling with your bills or just want some help getting to grips with your energy use ready for the winter, we’re here for you.
"We want to help people understand how they can manage their bills and access funding which could include free financial support for loft insulation or a new boiler. Our support means people and families will improve their energy efficiency in their homes and improve their household budget for the longer-term.”
In the UK, over three million households are estimated to be living in fuel poverty. This is the term used to refer to a situation where a household is unable to afford to heat their home to the temperature needed to stay warm and healthy.
While the exact definition and measurement varies across the UK, the main contributors to fuel poverty are low incomes, rising energy prices, and inadequate heating, poor insulation and ventilation.
It’s a situation that tends to see the poorest people, who live in the least energy efficient homes, pay the most for their energy. And it’s a situation that gets worse in the winter months, when the temperature drops, and householders find themselves struggling to meet basic living expenses like energy bills.
In Herefordshire 16.7% of households are in fuel poverty according to the Government. This is against a national average of 13.2%.
To receive support from Keep Herefordshire Warm, residents are urged to text ADVICE to 82228 or call 0800 6771 432 to receive their pack and get tailored support.