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North residents may be missing out on scheme to cut electricity bills

By Alan Hendry

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Rhoda Grant has set out her concerns over the Warm Home Discount Scheme.
Rhoda Grant has set out her concerns over the Warm Home Discount Scheme.

NORTH MSP Rhoda Grant has warned that householders across the Highlands and Islands may be missing out on the UK Government's Warm Home Discount Scheme.

The discount can result in a £140 reduction for electricity bills for winter 2019/2020. The money is paid directly to the suppliers and is a one-off discount on electricity bills between September and March.

Utility customers may also be able to get the discount on gas bills instead if the supplier provides both gas and electricity.

Only those customers whose energy supplier is registered with the UK Government for the scheme are able to apply, meaning customers of smaller energy firms or those not currently registered with the scheme may be missing out.

The deadline for claiming is Tuesday, March 31.

Mrs Grant, a Labour MSP for the Highlands and Islands, has written to the UK work and pensions secretary Thérèse Coffey setting out her concerns.

“One in every four homes in the Highlands and Islands is living in fuel poverty, and one in 10 is living in extreme fuel poverty, where they have to spend more than 20 per cent of their household income on energy," Mrs Grant said.

“We know that the region also suffers from some of the harshest weather conditions in the country and many homes unfortunately have poor insulation, and as a result suffer from disproportionately high levels of fuel poverty.

“The Warm Home Discount Scheme has the potential to save homes across the Highlands and Islands up to £140 on their winter fuel bills. However, I am concerned that due to the eligibility criteria many households may be missing out.

“The UK Government must provide further details about how it is helping customers whose energy suppliers are not registered with the scheme and also provide greater details about what steps it is taking to extend protections to vulnerable customers who may be missing out on vital help with winter fuel costs.”

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