"The freezing conditions sweeping North West Hampshire are having a deep impact on households that are concerned about keeping warm, with a significant increase in calls to the Home Heat Helpline (0800 33 66 99) for assistance over the festive period."
The Home Heat Helpline has already received a record number of calls over November – December 2009, an increase of 23 per cent from 2008.
Home Heat Helpline spokesperson, Christine McGourty says:
“The increase in calls to the Helpline indicates that households in North West Hampshire and across the UK are suffering as a result of the extreme weather conditions – but it is positive that people are reaching out for help.”
Sir George is urging residents across North West Hampshire to call the free Home Heat Helpline (0800 33 66 99) today, after recent ‘Missing Millions’ research* from the Home Heat Helpline revealed that around 3100 households (7%) across North West Hampshire are missing out on savings of up to £250 each year on their energy bills.
The research shows that households across North West Hampshire could save around £150 a year on their heating bills by insulating their lofts and a further £115 a year with cavity wall insulation.
“I am joining the Home Heat Helpline in urging households across North West Hampshire to call the free service on 0800 33 66 99 to find out how they can keep warm and save money on their energy bills today. Helpline advisors can give people who are worried about the cost of heating their homes help on making their home more energy efficient, and information on reduced or ‘social’ tariffs and free insulation available,” says Sir George.
The Home Heat Helpline says it is absolutely essential for older people, families with young children and those with disabilities to find out what assistance and grants they may be eligible for.
Sir George also urges neighbours, friends and family of those who may be especially feeling the cold to call the Home Heat Helpline on their behalf to find out if they are eligible for help.
“Freezing temperatures can be isolating for many people, especially the elderly. If you know anyone who might be finding it hard to keep warm and healthy during the cold weather – please call the Home Heat Helpline to see what support is available for them.”
Coronation Street star Kym Marsh, ambassador for the Home Heat Helpline campaign said:
“I know what it’s like to be a single mum who is struggling to pay the bills. When every penny counts you need all the help you can get. But often you don’t know who to turn to. The Home Heat Helpline provides a really friendly, helpful service for people in need. Anyone who thinks they might be missing out on the help they are entitled to should give them a call.”
TIPS FOR A WARMER HOME
Make sure your radiators and heaters are not blocked by furniture or covered by curtains, otherwise most of the heat will literally disappear out the window.
Keep draughts at bay using a draught-proofing kit, available from most DIY stores to block draughts around external windows and doors.
Replace your traditional light bulbs with energy efficient ones. These use 80% less energy, and can cost as little as 50p.
Appliances left on standby can use as much as three-quarters of the energy they use when they are fully switched on – so turn them completely off when not in use.
Mend the drips. A dripping hot water tap can waste enough hot water to fill half a bath in just one week, so fix leaking taps and make sure they’re all fully turned off.
Notes to Editors
Photos of Kym Marsh are available from the Press Office.
The Home Heat Helpline (0800 33 66 99) is a free, not for profit phone line set up by Britain’s energy companies to help customers who are struggling to pay their energy bills and keep warm. Customers can also access the service online by visiting www.homeheathelpline.org.uk
The Helpline is managed by the Energy Retail Association and paid for by contributions from Britain’s major energy suppliers. The service is backed by a range of support organisations including Age Concern / Help the Aged; Citizens Advice; National Energy Action; Energy Saving Trust; Counsel and Care and Gingerbread.
The Helpline’s trained advisers can provide eligible customers with access to one or more of the following services:
Free home insulation grants
Reduced or ‘social’ tariffs
The Priority Service Register which provides extra services for people who are elderly or disabled including bills in large text or Braille, security passwords and an annual gas safety check
Flexible payment options for customers in fuel debt
Benefits entitlement checks
The Energy Retail Association set up a Safety Net procedure in 2004 to make sure that no vulnerable customer in Britain is knowingly disconnected from their electricity or gas supply at any time of year.
* ABOUT THE MISSING MILLIONS RESEARCH
The ‘Missing Millions’ research, undertaken by New Policy Institute (NPI), pinpoints where the Missing Millions are located up and down the country, enabling the Home Heat Helpline to see precisely which communities are most likely to gain from the assistance on offer.
Individual maps for England, Scotland and Wales are also available. Maps above use data from Ordinance Survey. To reproduce the maps royalty-free, please contact Pauline Hand at Ordinance Survey on 023 8079 2251, or firstname.lastname@example.org
A full copy of the NPI report is available on request.
The New Policy Institute (NPI) was commissioned by the Home Heat Helpline to estimate the number of vulnerable households who could benefit from free CERT home insulation grants.
For more information please contact Melissa Devine on 0207 104 4157 or Danielle Milne on 0207 104 4160.