Advice for vulnerable customers in Wales as the cold weather bites
As temperatures plummet across Wales this week, fuel poverty charity, NEA Cymru outlines the help available for vulnerable customers to stay warm and well at home:
- Call your energy supplier if you are struggling to pay your bills or you are worried about running into debt. Your supplier may be able to help by offering advice and a better tariff.
- The Welsh Government Warm Homes Nest scheme provides advice on saving energy and, if you own or privately rent your home and you or someone you live with receives a means tested benefit, you may be eligible for free home energy efficiency improvements including central heating or insulation. Nest can be contacted on Freephone 0808 808 2244 or visit nestwales.org.uk for more information.
- Check here to check if your nearest heating oil distributor is participating in the Cold Weather Priority Initiative, which ensures fuel deliveries are made to vulnerable people in extremely cold weather.
- Your supplier may be able to offer you extra help if you are vulnerable with a variety of services available through their Priority Services Register. This includes you being exempt from disconnection during the winter months.
- If your current supplier isn’t able to help you get a better deal, do shop around using an Ofgem registered price comparison site, you may be able to save significantly.
- Call the Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 03454 040506 or visit org.uk/advice for advice on energy saving.
- Make sure you are claiming all the benefits to which you are entitled. Accessing benefits will not only increase your income but may passport you to other forms of financial assistance. The Charity Turn2us provides a benefits calculator visit: https://www.turn2us.org.uk/Find-Benefits-Grants.
- If you smell gas call the 24 hour emergency hotline on 0800 111 999.
- Help others by passing on advice to vulnerable friends and family members. In the short term wrapping up warm, having hot drinks, using hot water bottles, blocking drafts, and heating at least one room in the house can all make a difference in the cold weather.
NEA’s Fuel Poverty Action Guide also provides detailed information on how to identify and assist people in fuel poverty.
Notes to Editors:
- For further information please contact Carole Morgan-Jones, Director, NEA Cymru, tel 02920 229322 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
- National Energy Action (NEA) is the UK fuel poverty charity which undertakes research, advocacy and works collaboratively with partners from local and national governments, industry and the third sector to deliver practical solutions to vulnerable people living in cold homes across the UK. For more information visit: nea.org.uk.
- Whilst UK-wide statistics for fuel poverty are no longer produced by the UK Government, the last year that they were published in 2015 highlighted that 4 million households are unable to heat and power their homes adequately across the whole of the UK.
- Fuel poverty in Wales is defined as the need to spend over 10% of household income on fuel costs to maintain adequate warmth for health and comfort. The Welsh Government published estimated figures for fuel poor households in Wales which showed that in 2016 there were 291,000 households living in fuel poverty, equivalent to 23% of households in Wales.
- Fuel poverty results from a combination of factors: low household income; unaffordable energy prices; and inadequate heating and insulation standards. The consequences of fuel poverty range from psychological distress, social isolation and physical discomfort to causing or exacerbating serious illness and, in the most extreme cases, to premature death.