Help With Your Energy
The Energy Assistance Package
The Energy Assistance Package is a four-stage Package of help, as recommended by the Fuel Poverty Forum. The package will help increase incomes, reduce fuel bills and improve the energy efficiency of homes.
The first stage provides an initial energy audit to anyone who phones the Energy Savings Advice Centre network, and identifies those at risk of fuel poverty who continue to the second stage. Stage two provides help with improving incomes and reducing energy bills. The third stage provides a package of standard insulation measures (cavity wall and loft insulation), as part of the energy companies' obligation under the Carbon Emission Reduction Target. Finally stage 4 provides more enhanced energy efficiency measures (such as heating systems including renewable systems, and insulation measures for hard to insulate homes for those who are fuel poor).
Priority Service Registers
All fuel suppliers should offer some sort of priority register for their vulnerable, elderly or disabled customers. This service basically flags up these customer accounts for extra vigilance and more resources are available for various account functions e.g. actual meter reads for accurate billing. Members can also choose a personal password to help to identify callers. The password is only given to staff that need to visit customer homes.
There can be other benefits too. Whatever your needs - whether you’re partially sighted and would like your bill read to you over the phone, or rely on your electricity supply for vital medical equipment – service registers make sure that these areas are covered. The service register package may also include a free telephone helpline which means you can speak to specially trained staff whenever you need to.
Warm Home Discount
The Warm Home Discount Scheme started on the 1st July 2011. If you qualify it will save you money on your electricity bills.
The Warm Home Discount requires energy companies by law to give a discount on energy bills to some of their most vulnerable customers. This mandatory scheme has replaced the previous voluntary agreement with the energy companies. Over the 4 years of the scheme to 2015, the WHD will be worth up to £1.1bn and is expected to help around two million households per year.
Energy companies are required to provide a discount on electricity bills to a “core group” of low income pensioners (initially comprising those in receipt of GPC, expanding to include every pensioner in receipt of Savings Credit by 2015). They are also required to provide the same discount to a “broader group” of their customers, although they retain discretion over who will be eligible for the discount. The discount for customers in both the core and broader groups is £120, increasing to £140 in year 4.
Year 1 - The scheme provides a £120 rebate towards electricity bills during winter 2011/12 for groups of vulnerable and low income households.
The Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) and participating electricity suppliers will work together to establish who is eligible for the scheme. This allows participating electricity suppliers to give the rebate automatically to customers who qualify.
When will I know if I am getting a Warm Home Discount?
The first energy rebates will be made in winter 2011/12. If you qualify you will get a letter this winter to confirm this. Some customers who qualify may not be able to be identified automatically, so they will need to contact suppliers on the numbers below to register.
The electricity suppliers involved in this scheme are: Atlantic, British Gas, EDF Energy, E.ON, Equipower, Equigas, Manweb, M&S Energy, Npower, Sainsbury’s Energy, Scottish Gas, Scottish Hydro, ScottishPower, Southern Electric, SSE, Swalec and Utility Warehouse.
Cold Weather Payment & Winter Fuel Payment
The Warm Home Discount will not affect and Cold Weather Payment or Winter Fuel Payment you may receive.
Please contact West Lothian Council Energy Advice Team who are located at the Advice Shop in Bathgate on 01506 283000.