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Caithness CAB in nationwide campaign to save on household energy costs

By Alan Hendry

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Caithness CAB manager Isobel Mackay says householders 'might be starting to really feel the pinch' of rising energy bills.
Caithness CAB manager Isobel Mackay says householders 'might be starting to really feel the pinch' of rising energy bills.

Householders in Caithness and north Sutherland who are worried about their energy bills are being given the chance to benefit from a nationwide campaign.

With more people staying at home to comply with Covid-19 restrictions, incurring higher energy costs in the process, Caithness Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) has joined forces with Home Energy Scotland to promote Big Energy Saving Month 2021.

The campaign, which began on Monday, aims to help people cut their bills and get the financial support they are entitled to.

It comes as new research from YouGov for Citizens Advice Scotland shows that 14 per cent of people who have run out of money before pay day have missed an energy payment.

Caithness CAB manager Isobel Mackay said: “As temperatures fall and energy bills hit doormats and inboxes in Caithness and north Sutherland this January, people might be starting to really feel the pinch of rising bills.

“This is particularly the case in 2021, after we all spent so much time at home due to restrictions during the pandemic.

“Worryingly, 14 per cent of people who have run out of money before pay day since lockdown in March missed an energy payment as a result.

“Caithness CAB helps thousands of people every year, and we put money back into people’s pockets. We would encourage people who are facing increasingly difficult energy bills to seek advice so we can save their energy this January.”

The campaign focuses on five main consumer groups:

  • People on electric-only heating
  • People on prepayment meters
  • People struggling with energy bills
  • Those who frequently turn off the heating to save money
  • People who can’t access deals and support online

Figures released by the Scottish Government last year revealed that one in four households in Scotland – more than 600,000 – found themselves in fuel poverty.

There are also reported to be increasing numbers of homes in "extreme" fuel poverty. A household is in extreme fuel poverty if it spends more than a fifth of its income on energy costs and it still cannot afford sufficient heating and an acceptable standard of living.

Scottish Government predictions suggest that fuel poverty figures could rise further due to Covid-19, to 29 per cent.

Harry Mayers, head of Home Energy Scotland, said: "January is traditionally a challenging month for householders who may be experiencing financial difficulties. Research from Citizen Advice Scotland and Energy Saving Trust shows that this will be amplified as a result of the pandemic and associated restrictions.

“Through Big Energy Saving Month and our partnership with Citizens Advice Scotland, we want people to know that we are here to provide advice and support on the practical steps they can take to improve the energy efficiency of their homes and reduce the cost of bills."

Caithness CAB's phone numbers are 01847 894243 (Thurso) and 01955 605989 (Wick), or email bureau@caithnesscab.casonline.org.uk

Home Energy Scotland is funded by the Scottish Government and managed by Energy Saving Trust.

Its advisers can be contacted free of charge on weekdays from 8am-8pm and on Saturdays from 9am to 5pm. Anyone concerned about their energy costs can call Home Energy Scotland on 0808 808 2282.

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