Ways in which people in Scunthorpe area can reduce worries about rising energy costs
FAMILIES are struggling to pay their energy bills as fuel costs continue to rise.
Electricity and gas prices have been creeping up nationally, with average household energy bills rising from £522 in 2004 to £1,352 today – an increase of £830, or 159 per cent.
All of the big six energy companies have introduced price increases in the past four months – and almost nine out of 10 households (87 per cent) say they will be rationing their energy use this winter.
In the Yorkshire and Humber region there are 578,118 households considered fuel poor, according to research by National Energy Action – a rise of 133,936 from 2009.
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Rae Twidale, project co-ordinator at Westcliff Drop-in centre, said many Westcliff residents had been into the centre because they were worried about their heating bills.
"Quite a few people have come in to contact their suppliers to take up energy saving offers. I think a lot of people worry about how much their heating bills are going to cost – we're all struggling," she said.
"So it's a really good idea to have anything that helps people reduce heating costs."
Brigg resident Sandy Andrews said she helps save energy by wearing a jumper and by putting her gas central heating on at a low temperature for longer periods.
She also welcomes initiatives aimed at helping others.
She said: "I support people who wish to upgrade their heating systems and insulation and any cash they are given towards this is wonderful – a good idea indeed."
One scheme which is helping householders in North Lincolnshire drive down their energy bills is a project that supports the installation of renewable heating systems.
A total of £273,850 has been allocated from the Government's Renewable Heat Premium Payment (RHPP) Communities Scheme, after Leeds-based CIC Community Energy Solutions in partnership with North Lincolnshire Council, and three other councils, applied for funds.
In North Lincolnshire, around 28 homes will receive a share of £103,550, which has been specifically allocated to the householders involved.
Liz Webster, housing standards manager at the council, said: "This will offer great opportunities not just for the householders included in the project but for the wider community as a whole."
The RHPP Communities Scheme, funded by the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC), is designed to support domestic renewable heat installations in privately- owned homes, particularly those with a middle to low income that are not connected to the mains gas network.
The households will now each receive up to 40 per cent off the cost of buying and installing a heat pump, biomass boiler or a solar thermal hot water system, which offer long-term reductions in fuel bills and carbon emissions.