National Charity urges – Be prepared for another big freeze
It will be some time before we know how many people perished during the end of February big freeze but thousands will have suffered and may still be suffering from the health impacts of living in very cold homes.
And it’s not over yet. We have warnings again from the Met Office that there will be a high probability of severe weather and snow between Friday and Monday, NEA the national fuel poverty charity is urging vulnerable people to be prepared by taking the following steps:
- Do call your energy supplier if you are struggling to pay your bills or you are worried about running into debt. Your supplier will help you, they may be able to offer a better tariff with them or provide help through the Energy Company Obligation scheme
- 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 Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 03454 040506 or visit nea.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.
- 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 draughts, 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.
Public Health England (PHE) has issued cold weather alerts and health warnings following the arrival of colder weather in some parts of England. PHE offers top tips for staying safe in these conditions: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/cold-weather-alerts-and-health-warnings-issued#history . PHE’s publication ‘Keep Warm, Keep Well’ is also full of advice: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/653267/Keep_Warm_Keep_Well_2017.pdf or you can also visit the NHS Stay Well website: https://www.nhs.uk/staywell#fCXQ6jSfOmGfJ2LB.97 .