Combatting fuel poverty

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IN THE run-up to winter, many families will dread the bills being incurred in heating their homes.

However, in East Renfrewshire, the council is making moves to help combat this by getting together with Home Energy Scotland to assist householders with their forthcoming bills.

The energy efficiency organisation works with residents on ways to cut costs to homes across the country and fight back against fuel poverty.

Assistance will also be available to allow more residents to access local energy support and to help people struggling to pay their energy bills

Research indicates that people have no trust in energy suppliers and are concerned about household finances.

It is expected that Home Energy Scotland will target these concerns and find ways to ensure that the headache of high bills is not a problem.

East Renfrewshire Council’s environment convener Councillor Vincent Waters said: “As energy prices continue to rise, more Scots are struggling to pay their energy bills as people’s budgets are under more pressure.

“Last year, energy suppliers increased their bills by up to 18%, resulting in around one third of Scots being affected by fuel poverty, with wide-ranging implications including upon health and well-being.

“It is our belief that everyone in East Renfrewshire should live in a warm and safe home that doesn’t cost the earth to heat. In these current economic times, it is more important than ever that people take advantage of energy efficiency schemes and money saving opportunities.”

Home Energy Scotland, Strathclyde and Central Advice Centre Manager Brian Canning added: “With around one third of Scots being affected by fuel poverty, it is essential Home Energy Scotland works in partnership with East Renfrewshire Council to make sure as many people as possible access the local support available.”

East Ren council conducted an initial survey as a part of wider research into heating and energy efficiency with the assistance of residents from Eaglesham, Waterfoot and Barrhead.

Surveys in other areas of East Renfrewshire are planned for the future.

Committed to the delivery of this important project, the council worked with the University of Glasgow to identify and recruit a postgraduate student to join the team for two months to provide dedicated support.

In addition to being encouraged to complete the energy survey, Barrhead, Eaglesham and Waterfoot residents were invited to one of two drop-in events held locally at which people had the chance to complete the affordable warmth survey, and get face to face advice from Home Energy Scotland advisors with the option to request a home visit if necessary.

Sandy Farr from Barrhead won first prize in a prize draw associated with the survey and received £100 of Tesco vouchers from Environment convener Councillor Vincent Waters. He also benefitted from energy saving tips provided by Home Energy Scotland advisors.
Sandy said: “Winning a prize is a welcome surprise and through following some of the energy tips that I was given I am already starting to save money.”