News From OilFiredUp
Get Help Now Before Winter Bites, Urges NEA
29th September 2012
With the weather getting colder and winter approaching fast, national fuel poverty charity National Energy Action (NEA) is urging all older people to take action now to ensure they are warm and comfortable in their homes.
Around 2.5 million households with a resident over the age of 60 in England are estimated to be living in fuel poverty, that is they are unable to afford to heat their homes to the level needed to help them keep warm and healthy. Older people are at particular risk because they are more likely to live in homes that have poor heating and insulation, and they are often on low, fixed incomes that make them particularly vulnerable to rising energy costs. Many choose to ration their energy use, unaware that living in a cold home can actually cause or exacerbate a range of serious health conditions such as strokes, heart attacks and bronchitis.
The good news is that there is help available. The Warm Front scheme is a Government funded initiative providing heating and insulation measures for low income households. The scheme, which is in its final year, has recently broadened its eligibility criteria meaning more people will qualify for assistance. Many gas and electricity suppliers also offer a range of assistance to certain older customers, including the Warm Homes Discount scheme, which offers a discount of £130 on energy bills for older customers on certain qualifying benefits. Unfortunately, this assistance is unavailable from fuel oil distributors.
Maria Wardrobe, Director of External Affairs at NEA and Chair of the Safe Warm Homes Group of the Age Action Alliance said 'it is vital that older people are able to keep warm in their homes this winter, and I would urge everyone to contact the Warm Front team now on 0800 316 2805 to see if they are eligible for assistance'.
'Charities, community groups, local authorities and others that work to support older people also have a key role to play in helping to identify and help those that may be in fuel poverty, and to help with this we have developed a new publication Warm Homes Older People, which is a step-by-step guide on how to recognise when someone is in fuel poverty and where to direct them for assistance'.