As fuel bills soar, CAB gives advice on how to stay warm this winter

16:41 09 November 2012

MORE households are expected to be plunged into fuel poverty by soaring energy bills this winter, and residents are being urged to make keeping warm a priority.

It is estimated that more than 1,600 households in the district are affected by fuel poverty – defined as when more than 10 per cent of a household’s income is spent on keeping warm – which is one of the highest rates in Essex.

And it is a trend that is not set to change with the combination of static salaries and hikes in the cost of energy by the major suppliers.

Kate Robson, manager of Uttlesford Citizen Advice Bureau, described fuel poverty as a serious issue in Uttlesford, particularly with a lot of people reliant on liquid fuel.

“There are some things everyone should be doing to save money,” she advises. “Make sure you’re on the best tariff, use actual readings instead of estimate, and be prepared to change provider or ask them if you’re on the best tariff.

“It’s a tough time but residents need to make sure they keep warm.”

Last week EDF Energy became the fifth major energy firm to announce a price rise, putting average prices up 10.8 per cent, following in the footsteps of its competitors.

Npower said it would increase gas prices by 8.8 per cent and electricity 9.1 per cent while British Gas – who reported a £345 million profit in the first half of this year – also increased prices by an average of six per cent.

The website uswitch.com, which helps consumers change energy suppliers, says in the UK 314,000 households will become fuel poor because of the latest increases.

In a bid to help residents in rural communities through the expected cold snap, the Rural Community Council of Essex (RCCE) launched a ‘Community Oil Buying Scheme’ earlier this year.

Nick Shuttleworth, executive director of RCCE, said: “This scheme aims to make cheaper heating oil available in rural areas, where a considerable proportion of households – over 40 per cent in Uttlesford – have no access to mains gas.”

Membership costs £20 a year and RCCE has seen individuals save as much as £53 per 1,000 litres of oil ordered. Membership is also open to community organisations, such as village halls and and businesses.

Visit essexrcc.org.uk/oil for details.

For help with your energy bills call the Home Heat Helpline on 0800 336699.

0 comments

More news stories

A man has been arrested after a member of staff from a Dunmow shop suffered head and facial injuries in an alleged assault on Saturday night (February 18).

Criminal damage was caused to a blue Mercedes, parked at Cannons Mead, Stansted, between 4.30pm on February 5 and 9.55am on February 11. A 2ft long groove was made in the driver’s door.

A soldier, so badly injured in a motorbike crash he thought he had died and was in purgatory, will join a racing team at Le Mans.

17:24

A man who kicked and punched his partner following a row about her using a tumble dryer instead of hanging the washing out to dry has been jailed for seven months.

Digital Edition

Image
Read the Dunmow Broadcast e-edition E-edition

Most read stories

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter