Stephen Metcalfe, local MP for South Basildon and East Thurrock, is supporting a national day to raise awareness of the plight of those struggling to heat their homes affordably.
Fuel Poverty Awareness Day takes place on 28 March and is run by the charity National Energy Action. Around 4.4 million households in the UK are estimated to be living in fuel poverty, unable to heat their homes to the level needed to stay warm and comfortable.
Mr Metcalfe said: ‘’Fuel poverty is a serious problem affecting around 10,000 households in Basildon, and Thurrock but there are a range of actions that people can take to make their energy bills more affordable. This includes making your home more energy efficient and checking to see if you are eligible for any discounts on your electricity bills or financial assistance with heating or insulation improvements.”
“I would urge anyone worried about meeting their energy costs to contact the independent Home Heat Helpline on 0800 33 66 99.’’
The Government have also taken steps to get energy bills down. As a result the regulator, Ofgem, is now bringing in measures to make energy bills clearer and simpler to ensure that everyone is on the cheapest tariff to suit their needs; green levies have been rolled back from consumers’ energy bills; and from 2014 an annual competition test will be introduced which will look at price, profits, competition, barriers to entry and how easy it is for consumers to get the best deal. These changes will save an average of £50 on household bills and all the major energy companies have confirmed that these savings will be passed onto their customers.
Alongside this, the Government’s Warm Home Discount Scheme will provide over 2 million households, including over 600,000 vulnerable pensioners, with a £135 discount on their electricity bills.
Maria Wardrobe, Director of External Affairs at NEA said "We welcome the support of Stephen Metcalfe MP to help tackle this problem in South Basildon and East Thurrock. It is vital that anyone working with vulnerable and low-income householders is able to identify and assist those who may be in fuel poverty, and we have launched a new version of our popular Fuel Poverty Action Guide to support them through this process and ensure that help reaches those most in need."
For further information on Fuel Poverty Awareness Day and to order copies of the Fuel Poverty Action Guide visit www.nea.org.uk. For energy efficiency advice and information contact the Home Heat Helpline on 0800 33 66 99.