Plus, tips for keeping energy bills low
Even though we are heading into spring, with Easter fast approaching, the weather is set to be cold for a while yet. The cost of energy bills can be a burden for anyone, but for the elderly who may be living on a fixed income, it can be particularly challenging. As such, there are a range of initiatives and support mechanisms available in the UK to help the elderly manage their gas and electric bills and stay warm during the colder months.
One of the main sources of support for the elderly with their energy bills is the government’s Winter Fuel Payment scheme. This is a tax-free payment of between £100 and £300 paid to those who were born on or before 25 September 1956 and are resident in the UK. The payment is made automatically and usually arrives in November or December.
If you’re entitled to a Winter Fuel Payment scheme, you will get an extra £150 or £300 paid with your normal payment from November 2022 as a Pensioner Cost of Living Payment. This is in addition to any Cost of Living Payment you get with your benefit or tax credits. The full amount of Winter Fuel Payment you will get for winter 2022 to 2023 depends on your circumstances.
Additionally, there is also the Warm Home Discount scheme which provides a £140 rebate on energy bills for those who are eligible. Check eligibility details here. The Warm Home Discount scheme is available to those who receive the Guarantee Credit element of Pension Credit, or are on a low income and meet their energy supplier’s criteria.
There is also the Cold Weather Payment scheme, which is available to those who receive Pension Credit. Check eligibility details here. If eligible for Cold Weather Payments you’ll get a payment if the average temperature in your area is recorded as, or forecast to be, zero degrees Celsius or below over 7 consecutive days. You’ll get £25 for each 7 day period of very cold weather between 1 November and 31 March.
There is good news that the Energy Price Guarantee, also known as Energy Bills Support scheme, has been extended for an additional 3 months at its current level from April to the end of June 2023. The EPG protects customers from increases in energy costs by limiting the amount suppliers can charge per unit of energy used.
Many energy suppliers also offer schemes to support elderly customers. These may include discounts, payment plans, or tariff options specifically designed for the elderly. Contact your supplier to see what support is available or offer to do this for a loved one if they may struggle with this.
If you have a prepayment meter, energy companies cannot disconnect your gas or electric if you miss a payment unless your supplier has tried to find ways for you to pay back that money. Ofcom rules mean suppliers must offer payment plans you can afford. Contact the supplier if you have any concerns.
The Citizens Advice Bureau is another useful resource for the elderly struggling with their energy bills. They can provide advice on managing energy bills, switching energy suppliers and applying for grants or schemes. They may also be able to offer support with negotiating payment plans with energy suppliers.
There are also a number of charities that provide support for the elderly with their energy bills. Age UK is one of the largest charities supporting older people in the UK. They offer a range of services including energy advice on managing gas and electricity bills, as well as practical support such as help with insulation and heating repairs. Other charities that may be able to help include the British Gas Energy Trust.
Tips for keeping energy bills low
In addition to seeking support from external sources, there are also a number of practical steps that the elderly can take to reduce their energy bills:
- Use energy-efficient appliances: Energy-efficient appliances can make a big difference to your energy bills. Look for appliances with an energy rating of A+ or higher. Seek expert advice or trusted recommendations to inform your decisions.
- Use energy-saving light bulbs: Replace traditional light bulbs with energy-saving ones, such as LED bulbs. These use less energy and last longer.
- Use draft excluders: Draft excluders can help to keep the cold air out and the warm air in. You can buy these or make your own using old clothes or towels.
- Insulate your home: Proper insulation can help to keep your home warm and reduce your energy bills. This could include insulating your loft, walls or windows. Call us for our recommendations of suppliers from our unique clients’ Trusted Partner Network, yo prevent being conned by cowboy companies.
- Close doors and windows: Make sure that doors and windows are closed when you are not in a room, particularly in colder weather.
- Turn off appliances when not in use: Turn off appliances when you are not using them, rather than leaving them on standby. This can save a significant amount of energy.
- Consider a smart meter: A smart meter can help you to monitor your energy usage and identify areas where you could reduce your consumption.
- Use a programmable thermostat: A programmable thermostat allows you to set your heating to come on and go off at specific times. This can help to reduce your energy usage when you are not at home.
- Wear warm clothing indoors: Wearing warm clothing such as a jumper or cardigan can help to keep you warm without having to turn up the heating.
How we can help
As part of our Household and Domestic Help services, we can offer advice on energy bills for the elderly. Other home help services include assistance with light household chores such as laundry, vacuuming, and meal preparation. These services are designed to help individuals maintain their homes and keep them clean and tidy.
In addition to Household and Domestic Help services, Great Park Home Care provides a comprehensive range of home care services designed to meet the individual needs of each of our clients. Our services are delivered by experienced, trained, and compassionate carers who are dedicated to providing the highest quality care, trusted to look out for you in your best interests.
We cover Windsor, Old Windsor, Ascot and surrounding areas including Bray, Datchet, Dorney, Englefield Green, Eton, Eton Wick, Great Park, Winkfield and Windsor. Please call 01753 369088 or visit our website for more information and advice.