County Durham residents struggling with high energy bills can use a council service to assess where savings can be made.
Durham County Council’s Managing Money Better scheme can carry out a free home energy assessment, which includes:
• Assessing fuel bills and helping to switch suppliers if savings can be made.
• Making sure residents understand their heating system and controls.
• Providing energy efficiency advice and arranging practical support if needed, such as insulation.
In addition to advice on energy bills, the team can:
• Make referrals to Welfare Rights for advice on benefit entitlements.
• Help with money management, including budgeting.
• Refer to other relevant services that can help with finances, debt and home improvements if necessary
Resident Elaine Porter, who lives in Chester-Le-Street, received assistance from the scheme and was highly complementary about the service provided by the Housing Solutions team.
In a letter to the service, Mrs Porter wrote: “I am writing to say a very big thank you to Managing Money Better for the help provided to us with our energy bills. We were so worried for a long time about our very high energy bills; we were being overcharged by our energy company and didn’t know how to get this stopped.
“We tried to sort this ourselves without success, so we contacted the council’s Managing Money Better service for help. The service we received from them was fantastic, friendly and very professional.
“Their expert knowledge and support was very impressive and resulted in stopping the energy company overcharging us and we also received a refund on our bill. This was a huge relief and a massive weight off my shoulders.
“We were really impressed and just wanted to say a very big thank you again to Managing Money Better. We have absolutely no hesitation in recommending the service to other people who may need help and advice with reducing their energy bills.”
Cllr Kevin Shaw, Durham County Council’s cabinet member for strategic housing and assets, said: “It is easy to miss when extra money is being paid out unnecessarily and particularly in the current climate, as people struggle due to the coronavirus outbreak, many can benefit from having less to pay each month.
“Our Managing Money Better service is dedicated to helping residents understand where they can save and identify where there is unnecessary financial pressure. Our team can help people who are struggling to manage their finances and offer advice on money management to take one less stress away from households.”
The Managing Money Better service can help residents reduce their energy bills by finding a more competitive tariff. If anyone is worried about their bills due to coronavirus, phone 03000 260 000 or visit www.durham.gov.uk/saveonyourenergybills.