Few people ask for home heat advice

PUBLISHED: 15:55 24 May 2007 | UPDATED: 21:42 29 May 2010

JUST nine people in the Parliamentary constituency of Saffron Walden, which also covers Dunmow, have called the Home Heat Helpline since it was set up in October 2005. As a result, thousands of residents could be missing out on essential advice and financ

JUST nine people in the Parliamentary constituency of Saffron Walden, which also covers Dunmow, have called the Home Heat Helpline since it was set up in October 2005.

As a result, thousands of residents could be missing out on essential advice and financial support to help with their fuel bills.

Those who call could benefit from reduced tariffs from their energy company, advice on reducing the amount they spend heating their home and access to grants for home insulation and support if they have special requirements due to a disability.

But analysis of more than 14,000 calls to the helpline has revealed that people in the East of England were among the least likely to have taken advantage of the free advice.

The results show that while savvy households in regions such as London, the North West and the South East have called the helpline, just eight percent of callers were from the East of England, and the nine who called from the Saffron Walden and Dunmow area represent just 0.06 percent of callers.

The Home Heat Helpline aims to help vulnerable customers who have difficulties with heating their homes or paying for their energy bills.

Duncan Sedgwick, chief executive of the Energy Retail Association, said: "Since we started the helpline we have had thousands of calls from vulnerable people who were either struggling to pay their fuel bills or needed advice and assistance on insulating and heating their home efficiently.

"Just one free phone call to the helpline could result in reduced energy bills, grants to insulate their home or simply ways they can save energy around the house. I would urge anyone to call today to make sure they are getting the help and advice they are entitled to and are prepared in good time for next winter."

Mervyn Kohler of Help the Aged added: "There is help going unclaimed which could improve the efficiency and the cost of heating in the home. Far too many older householders live in homes which are dangerously cold in the winter months, risking their health and causing much misery. They should make a call to the Home Heat Helpline."

The Home Heat Helpline, on 0800 33 66 99, is a free service for all British citizens and operates from Monday to Friday 9am to 8pm and 10am to 2pm on Saturdays.

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