Mark Drakeford AM urges Cardiff West to ‘GET READY FOR WINTER’

With winter on the way, Mark has called on his constituents in Cardiff West to ensure that they are taking advantage of free help and support with energy bills, in order to stay warm at the lowest possible cost.

Short term for everyone: Getting the best deal

Make sure you are on the best gas and electricity tariff for you. There are lots of deals and fixed prices to help you control your costs. It is easier than ever before to switch suppliers, which could potentially save you hundreds of pounds over the year. Use an online price comparison website to find deals – if you have the time, use more than one.

Examples: energyhelpline.com, moneysupermarket.com, uswitch.com, comparethemarket.com.

Short term for everyone: Saving Energy

It is possible to do simple things to save energy – and so save money – while still keeping warm. Changing just one traditional light bulb with a fluorescent light of the same brightness will save about £3 per year.

There are many more facts and ideas at energysavingtrust.co.uk

Short term for some: Financial support

Some constituents may be entitled to extra support from the government and the energy supplier if they meet certain criteria. The Warm Home Discount is worth £140 off your bill and is available to people who get the Guarantee Credit element of Pension Credit.

If you receive the state pension and were born on or before 5 July 1952, you should receive the Winter Fuel Payment – between £100 and £300 depending on your circumstances. If you have not received it automatically, you can apply for it here.

As well as the Winter Fuel Payment, some people are also eligible to receive the Cold Weather Payment. This is a £25 payment paid if the weather is freezing for 7 days in a row. You need to be receiving Pension Credit, Income Support or some other benefits to qualify.

Short term for those with difficulties: British Gas Energy Trust, EDF Energy Trust, Npower Energy Fund

Three of the big energy companies operate independent charitable trusts that offer advice and support for people who are struggling with their household bills. For some, they may offer grants to help clear debts.
The EDF and British Gas Trusts do not even require that people applying are customers, though Npower does.

Long term for everyone: Insulate your home

Some people can get financial support, often depending on the current energy rating of their house and boiler, and their own financial situation. A good place to start is the Welsh Government funded Nest, a scheme working to help reduce the number of households in fuel poverty and make Welsh homes warmer and more energy-efficient places to live.

Many energy suppliers also offer new insulation or even boilers to certain customers, as part of the Energy Companies Obligation. Always ask your supplier what they offer – it is not always means tested either. You could get freebies that make your house warmer and save money.