If the recent freezing temperatures left you shivering by the radiator, you may be worried about the impact on your heating bills – and your bank balance.
Residents concerned about their energy bills are being encouraged to seek advice from Durham County Council’s Managing Money Better service, which is run in partnership with Prince Bishops Community Bank.
The service provides a free and impartial home visit to ensure residents are on the most appropriate tariff, as well as giving fuel debt advice.
They can also find out if they are entitled to the Government Warm Homes Discount of £140, something many homes do not realise they can claim.
With the average home energy bill now £1,340 per year, there are a number of ways to make savings but many people are unaware of how to get more for their money.
Six hundred residents have already benefitted from the scheme, including a disabled woman in her 90s from Barnard Castle.
Living in a large end of terrace house in a rural village, the woman’s electric bills were high and so a home visit from a Managing Money Better advisor was arranged.
After checking her bills, the advisor realised she was paying more than the standard tariff and had been missing out on the Warm Home Discount for 17 years, despite being in the automatic group.
As a result, she switched her tariff, saving £277 a year – as well as ensuring she should receive the Warm Home Discount of £140.
A couple from Stanley also wrote to the council to show how much they appreciated the team’s help when it was most needed.
After receiving an unexpectedly large bill, they were visited by an advisor who worked with them to ensure the bill was reviewed and they were then given a large refund.
Cllr Kevin Shaw, Cabinet member for strategic housing and assets, said: “Many people worry about dealing with their energy bills but aren’t aware that little changes can make a big difference.
“Our Managing Money Better service has already helped lots of residents in the county and we would encourage anyone who is struggling to get in touch with our team who can provide free, impartial advice.”
To arrange a home visit from Managing Money Better contact Durham County Council’s Housing Advice Line on 03000 268 000.