A £1bn package of help measures for households struggling to cope with soaring energy prices was unveiled today by Gordon Brown.
All low income and pensioner households are to get free loft and cavity insulation, while everyone else will be entitled to half-price energy-saving equipment and services.
Around 600,000 low income households will also be able to benefit from lower social tariffs by the end of the year.
Lower bills for the vulnerable
Around 40,000 households could see their fuel bills reduced by an average of £180 per year, thanks to extra funding for the government’s
Warm Front scheme. This offers up to £2,700-worth of central heating and energy efficiency measures to low income and pensioner households.
Ministers will also meet banks to increase the take-up of direct debits to pay energy bills and make savings of between £100 to £150 a year.
The Which? guide on how to use less electricity can help you start saving today.
Funding from suppliers
The new measures will be funded by energy suppliers and producers. The Prime Minster said the government would introduce legislation to ensure gas suppliers and electricity producers provide £910 million in funding.
Mr Brown said there would be ‘immediate help for those who need it most’ but stressed that the moves were focused on reducing energy consumption.
The Prime Minister said today: ‘Our objective is nothing less than a sea-change in energy efficiency and consumption, at the same time as helping the most vulnerable households this winter.’
The measures are in addition to measures announced in the budget earlier this year.
These included an extra £50 for Winter Fuel Payments (up from £200 to £250) for households with someone over £60 and an extra £100 for over-80s households (up from £300 to £400).
In the event of severe weather this winter, cold weather payments will increase from £8.50 to £25 a week.
Pre-payment meter customers will be protected from tariff hikes.
A national information campaign will be launched tomorrow to publicise the support on offer.
Which? energy tips
Check whether you could be on a cheaper gas and electricity deal through our switching site, Switch with Which?.
Here are some other tips:
- fit energy saving light bulbs. Switching one 100 Watt incandescent bulb for a Best Buy low-energy bulb and it could save you up to £30 over five years
- buy more energy efficient appliances. Domestic appliances account for 47% of total domestic electricity consumption, according to the Energy Saving Trust
- don’t hang wet clothes on radiators for drying – use a clothes horse instead. If you need to use a tumble dryer, wring out or spin dry your clothes before putting them in
- say goodbye to stand-by – find out how in our How to use less electricity guide. Consumer electronics, such as TVs and stereos, use around 16% of total domestic electricity
- always clean full loads when using washing machines, , washer-dryers or dishwashers. The fuller the load, the more energy efficient the cycle.