More than 400 charities, organizations and advisers have signed up to direct people in Scotland struggling with their energy bills to a £4million relief fund.
the Home Heating Assistance Fund is provided by the Scottish Government and administered by the national advice service, Advice Direct Scotland, as well as ‘referral partners’ who can still sign up to help their clients affected by the cost of living crisis until March 31, 2022.
Charities, housing associations and community organizations that provide energy or debt advice are encouraged to register online so they can seek funding for the people they support. Targeted funding from the Home Heating Support Fund will reflect each individual’s situation, with additional support available for households where someone is over the age of 75, lives with a disability or illness and/or lives in a remote community or islander.
Payments start at £100, rising to £1,000 to settle outstanding debt, with money paid directly to suppliers on behalf of the household.
Eligibility is based on households that “self-ration” their energy, i.e. those who deliberately limit their energy consumption so that they can afford to spend money on other goods or services.
Payments can be for electricity, fuel oil, gas, LPG, coal or other forms of heating, and are paid directly to the supplier.
Individuals cannot approach the fund directly.
Andrew Bartlett, Managing Director of Advice Direct Scotland, said: “Since the program launched, over 400 referral partners have signed up and we are receiving hundreds of inquiries on behalf of their customers struggling with energy bills. .
“This demonstrates the scale of the cost of living crisis, but we know there are more people who need help, so we encourage any charities, housing associations or community organizations who provide energy or debt advice to register with us.
“This fund will prove absolutely crucial in ensuring that the hardest hit households can continue to heat their homes and feed their families.”
10 ways to cut your energy costs by £375 a year
If you are not eligible for assistance from the fund, Ocean financing have shared 11 ways to save £375 over a 12 month period, although you’ll have to pay a fee for part of the measure, long-term savings could be a winning option.
Install a free smart meter to save up to £36 a year
Installing a smart meter could save you £36.93 a year on gas and electricity, according to the government’s cost-benefit analysis of rolling out smart meters.
Switch to smart bulbs to save £126 a year
Research shows that incandescent bulbs cost around £12.40 to buy and power per year, compared to just £2.05 for an LED smart bulb. Saving £10.35 per bulb, a house with 20 bulbs could save £207 each year by switching to energy efficient lighting.
Even with the initial costs (around £161.39 to buy 20 smart bulbs), after two years you could save up to £252.61 by using smart lighting – which equates to £126.30 a year.
Take a marine shower to save £80 a year
Taking a sea shower means limiting yourself to just three minutes of hot water. You can go down to three minutes by lathering up all your soap and shampoo with the shower off, then back on to rinse. Cutting your shower time from 10 minutes to three can save you up to £80 a year, so it’s definitely worth a try.
Protect your home against drafts with sponges, old blankets and other everyday objects
Over time, your home will naturally begin to leak heat through drafts around your doors, windows, and floor – or even the chimney if you have an older home. By caulking your home, you are helping to reduce your energy bills.
Most common anti-draught techniques:
- Buy a cover for your keyholes
- Fill baseboard cracks
- Put a sponge in your mailbox – it’s a great way to keep warm air in and cold air out, but make sure there’s somewhere else to leave your mail and inform your postman
- Place a hoodie or old blanket on the bottom of an interior door that lets heat escape
Use these laundry tricks to save £53 a year
Washing machines use a lot of water and energy to wash and spin all your dirty clothes. To save money, consider washing your clothes between 30 and 40 degrees to reduce the amount of energy your machines have to expend to heat water. Also try hanging your laundry to air dry – this requires no energy, while using a clothes dryer can significantly increase your energy costs. Plus it can save you a third on your energy bills, and at £160 a year that equates to a saving of £53.
Sleep your devices to save £80 a year
When we turn off our electrical appliances, many remain in standby mode, which consumes a small amount of power the entire time they are left on standby. When you switch off your electricity completely you can save up to £80 a year on your energy bills according to the Energy Saving Trust.
Another good tip is to unplug anything you aren’t using – if it’s not plugged in, it can’t contribute to your energy bills.
Drain your radiators regularly
You can increase the heat emitted by your radiators by bleeding them as needed. If they work efficiently, you won’t need to keep your central heating on for so long.
Rearrange your furniture to improve the heat flow of your room
In some cases, a simple rearrangement of your living spaces could help you optimize heat flow in your home. If you have furniture covering or blocking a radiator, it is likely that the heat from that radiator is being absorbed by that object. Do a scan around your living room, and if anything is blocking the radiator. You can then rearrange it to improve heat flow
Protect your windows against drafts with £3 masking tape
Even if your heater is on, you’ll find that your home won’t retain heat if there are any gaps or holes it can slip through – such as in your window (especially if it’s single-glazed). All you need to do is invest in some duct tape which can be bought for £3 on Amazon. This type of tape is used to create a seal around your window spaces that lets in fresh air.
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Place a specialized sheet behind your radiators to bounce heat around the room
Putting a specialist sheet (£6.60) behind your radiators is another way to improve heat flow in your home. The foil will reflect the heat and prevent it from penetrating the walls. If your home is not very well insulated, this could help you avoid further heat loss. It’s also a more eco-friendly way to warm up a bit.
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