Last week saw the Parliamentary launch of the Home Heat Helpline (0800 33 66 99). It is a free, not-for-profit advice service to help people who are struggling to pay their energy bills and stay warm this Christmas. In October 2006, the Helpline was initially launched by the Energy Retail Association (ERA) which is the trade association of the major UK energy companies.
The latest Helpline report shows that 3.5 million, or one in ten, households are eligible for some form of assistance, which works out as an average of £250 for each household. The Helpline have kindly provided data for the Wycombe area that shows 4,600 households are eligible which works out as 11% of the total. The help offered is not reserved for the elderly as many assume. It is available for families with young children, people with disabilities and long term health conditions.
At a time when energy prices are rapidly increasing and Parliament has recently debated on this topical issue, this service could be a welcome addition for families across the UK.