Help is at hand for people struggling with fuel poverty
As the days get colder and the financial impact of the recent increase to the energy price cap becomes more apparent, Highland Council is urging residents in the region not to suffer in silence if they are finding it hard to pay their fuel bills.
There are many reasons why people can’t pay their fuel bills – these are often referred to as ‘Fuel Insecurities’.
Households in Highland are being reminded of the sources of support available to them if they are facing fuel insecurities – from the in-house Welfare Support Team, Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB), alongside a number of energy efficiency grants and schemes.
The Welfare Support Team provides free, impartial and confidential support on fuel insecurity concerns, in addition to offering assistance to check eligibility and submit a claim for all benefits and entitlements. Getting in touch with the Welfare Support Team is the first step to maximising your potential income and managing your money well. They can be contacted by phone on 0800 090 1004 or by e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
In addition, Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) has a specialist team of Energy Advisors who can undertake a range of energy checks which are designed to help with reducing domestic fuel bills. CAB Energy Advisers can be contacted on 01463 237664.
Furthermore, funding is available from the Scottish Government, Energy Company Obligation (ECO) and Warm Homes Fund for those looking to implement energy efficiency measures within their home such as adding loft, cavity or External Wall Insulation to reduce heat loss and save on annual energy bills. Enquire through www.highland.gov.uk/energyefficientscotland for more information.
Leader of The Highland Council, Cllr Margaret Davidson, said: “The uncomfortable reality is that the withdrawal of both the £20 top-up to Universal Credit and furlough, and now a domestic energy crisis, will mean there will be Highland citizens who will be forced to choose between food or fuel this winter.”
“The current situation demonstrates the pressing need for a strategic review of our energy supply, market and infrastructure.”
She concluded: “I would encourage Highland residents who are facing difficulty in meeting the cost of their fuel bills to reach out and take full advantage of the support available. We know that customers receiving this support often express the relief they feel, and the positive impacts on their wellbeing."