With over 332,000 households in Wales living in fuel poverty, it’s crucial that those who are struggling get access to the help and support they are entitled to.
Graeme Francis, Head of Policy and Public Affairs at Age Cymru, said:
“Age Cymru is backing Big Energy Week and its aim to bring together organisations that can help to ease the burden for those suffering, particularly in the colder winter months.
“Age Cymru works in partnership with Age UK and provides comprehensive information and advice through our national advice line (0800 169 65 65). We also work with our local partners to offer older people face-to-face advice on accessing benefits, and offering hundreds of older people the chance to learn how to get online and take advantage of potential savings.
“But action is needed across the board. In the four years to December 2011, the annual electricity bill increased by 40% and the gas bill by 69%, so this is a problem that must be tackled head-on:
• Energy providers must support people to reduce bills through initiatives such as NEST and the Warm Homes Discount, and the UK Government must ensure that the Cold Weather Payment and Winter Fuel Payment remain at adequate levels.
• Energy companies need to provide a wider choice of direct debit options to help people to avoid going overdrawn unexpectedly, and those facing fuel debt should be signposted early to sources of help and information
• Pricing must be fair and clear, so we welcome OFGEM’s decision to require simpler energy tariffs and look to them to ensure that the energy market is fair for all, including single-person households.
Age Cymru’s Ruth Harland, who works on the advice line said:
“We’ve a wealth of information including ‘Save energy, pay less’ guide, Age Cymru’s ‘Winter wrapped up’ booklet and our new factsheet ‘Switching energy supplier’ – just give the advice line a ring to ask for your copies. For further information and advice from Age Cymru on reducing your energy bills call us on 0800 169 65 65.
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