Keep the heat in

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FEELING the cold this week? Then the Scottish government want to hear from you.

Scots are being urged to seek advice from the Home Energy hotline, in a bid to cut bills and make homes more energy-efficient.

The free helpline has received calls from over 230,000 residents so far, with advisers trained to fill both home owners and tenants in on free offers, discounts and other support available.

The ongoing campaign is part of a government scheme to tackle fuel poverty and promote affordable yet greener homes, and includes a £7.5 million investment to replace inefficient boilers and a further £6 million towards insulation improvements in 2012/13.

Some households may be eligible to receive £400 towards the cost of replacing a boiler – and it is estimated that the replacement could cut up to £300 from annual fuel bills.

Other homes may be eligible for free loft and cavity wall insulation, and some residents could even receive a full central heating system at no cost.

One such householder is Glaswegian Mary Carmichael, who contacted Home Energy Scotland about difficulties with heating her flat.

Mary found out that she was eligible to replace her two small radiators – which she was supplementing with expensive gas heaters – with six new radiators and a brand new boiler at no cost.

She commented: “It was so frustrating just trying to get my flat to a reasonable temperature, particularly in the cold winter months when it was just hopeless.

“I’d definitely encourage others in a similar situation to call the hotline to find out what they are eligible for, so that they too can get their homes prepared for the winter months coming”.

Deputy first minister and southside MSP Nicola Sturgeon refers to the scheme as “a vital source of information for families across Scotland”.

She added: “I would urge anyone who has not looked at loft or cavity wall insulation, or those looking to replace their old and inefficient boiler, to contact the hotline, to help them cut their household heating bills this winter”.

Find out more about the government-run scheme by calling 0800 512 012 or visiting the website.

For more energy saving tips, see this week’s edition of The Extra, out on Thursday.