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Monday, 24 September 2012

FREE ENERGY SAVING

As it gets colder million of us worry about heating bills for the coming winter. But governments and the energy companies have money to get rid of to help us save energy. Some of these schemes offer free insulation for every householder regardless of their income or circumstances.

You should apply soon - some schemes close at the end of September. The deals may not be repeated next year.

One quick way to find out what you can get is to call the Energy Saving Trust on 0300 123 1234. It will tell you what help is available locally as well as details of the schemes for everyone run by energy companies as well as the schemes in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland run by national governments and assemblies. The service is free and impartial. More at www.energysavingtrust.org.uk

Energy companies
In Great Britain the big six energy companies all have schemes that provide insulation free. They normally cover loft and cavity wall insulation in suitable homes. The average saving on fuel bills is reckoned to be £175 a year for loft insulation and £135 a year for cavity wall insulation. These are standard industry average figures and your own experience may be different.

British Gas, EDF, Scottish Power, and SSE will insulate any home in Great Britain free - you don't have to be a customer of theirs and there are no conditions about your circumstances or income. Of course, your home has to be suitable - not all are. If you already have loft insulation that may not be a barrier to getting it upgraded to modern standards. The current standard is 370mm about 11 inches but the joists in the loft will be smaller often six inches. So storing things on the joists may be difficult in future.

Low income customers may also get up to £300 as a bonus - amounts differ and the cash will be paid in vouchers to spend in High Street shops. British Gas will also pay for any scaffolding if that is needed and give elderly customers up to £150 to pay someone to clear the loft.

Remember these four schemes are for everyone NOT just customers of these firms and regardless of income or personal circumstances. They are running out of time so call today.

British Gas 0800 980 8177
EDF 0800 096 9000
Scottish Power 0845 601 7836
SSE 0800 072 7201

You may find cheaper numbers by using www.saynoto0870.com

E.On has a similar scheme but just for its own customers.
nPower will only insulate the homes of its own customers who have a low income and also get certain benefits related to age, children, or disability.

Smaller energy suppliers and those in Northern Ireland may not have similar schemes. But it is worth asking.

The big power companies offer the deals because they have a legal obligation to achieve reductions in the amount of energy we use - it is called the Carbon Emission Reduction Target (CERT). They have to meet these targets by the end of 2012. They are all trying to do as much as they can to hit them in time.

These deals may never be repeated as CERT has ended and arrangements are different next year.

Government schemes
Warm Front (England) 0800 316 2805
NEST (Wales) 0808 808 2244
Energy Assistance (Scotland) 0800 512 012
Warm Homes (Northern Ireland) 0800 988 0559

All four offer help with insulation and with heating systems – such as boilers or inefficient fires – but to qualify you must be on a low income, normally you have to be claiming a means-tested benefit as well as being over pension age OR have young children OR be disabled.

Call to find out more. If you are calling from a mobile you may find cheaper numbers on www.saynoto0870.com

Other schemes
As well as the major energy companies Tesco is offering a free-to-all insulation scheme. 0800 321 3456 www.tescohomeefficiency.com/free-insulation

Many local councils are also offering energy advice and insulation schemes. The Energy Saving Trust on 0300 123 1234 can give you more information about those in your area.

Beware of anyone who cold calls you at the door offering free insulation or energy saving work. Never trust them. Always say you will call whoever they claim to represent and look the number up yourself in the phone book or on the internet or check with the Energy Saving Trust.

People in mobile homes, tenants, and those in older properties may find they cannot get help. But the Energy Saving Trust can let you know what is available.

WARNING
Qualifying conditions may change. There may be application deadlines and claims after the deadline may be refused. Some end on 30 September 2012. Apply as soon as you can.