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Agenda: How to stay warm without facing soaring energy bills

AS we enjoy some much-needed time at home over the festive period, it’s important that we keep the winter chills out and stay warm too. But, for many of us, using heating and lighting over Christmas and New Year can also lead to worries about the cost of the energy we are using.

This time of year is always expensive. Energy prices are also very high and the added evolving Covid-19 situation continues to bring uncertainty, with the message to keep working from home if we can. It means more and more of us are worrying about higher energy bills. Research we undertook earlier this year indicated that 70 per cent of households in Scotland were concerned about bills going up in the future – and this was before the recent fuel price rises.

Home Energy Scotland is striving to ease some of these concerns especially during the festive period and winter months.

Our Scottish Government-funded advice service works to ensure the people of Scotland can make their homes more energy efficient and reduce bills. All information offered to households is completely impartial and there is a range of support available, including help worth up to £5,000 through the Warmer Homes Scotland initiative.

As well as financial support, our advisors help customers identify practical savings they can make at home, either by changing the way they use energy or by carrying out energy-saving home improvements such as:

• Improving your home’s insulation – from floor to loft, there are plenty of cost-effective ways to insulate your home and keep it feeling warm.

• Draught proofing, which is one of the cheapest and most effective ways to help stay warm.

• Understanding your heating controls – using your heating controls effectively lets you keep your home at a comfortable temperature without wasting fuel or heat.

Our survey also found that people have increased their energy use, with 27% more concerned about their energy bills now than before the pandemic. Over the last couple of years, we’ve also seen a rapid rise in the number of people calling our free advice service. In the busiest weeks of 2021, calls for support increased by more than 50% compared to pre-pandemic. As we go through the holiday period and emerge from it, we hope that people continue to get in touch to see how we can help their homes become more energy efficient, while remaining warm.

The results can be truly amazing. We regularly hear first-hand from people who have received support and the life-changing impact that making their homes more energy efficient has had. Taking advantage of the practical advice and incentives offered by Home Energy Scotland will not only see benefits in the short term but will lead to further savings in the years to come.

Harry Mayers is Head of Home Energy Scotland. Home Energy Scotland from the Scottish Government provides clear and impartial advice on reducing bills and saving energy. For further information call 0808 808 2282 or visit www.homeenergyscotland.org

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