Energy Crisis- Impact on Kinship Carers and Things You Can Do
Updated: Apr 23, 2022
With the recent increase in energy prices, along with all other increases we’re all facing, we decided to get some advice from a National Energy Action (NEA) and their Action for Warm Homes training to share with us all on a recent webinar. We’d like to highlight some of the learning from that webinar with our blog readers this week.
A household in England is defined as fuel poor if:
It has residual income below the poverty line (after accounting for the required energy costs) and
Lives in a property with an energy efficiency rating below Band C, as determined by the Fuel Poverty Energy Efficiency Rating Methodology (FPEER)
The individual: The Property:
Low-income - Age
High fuel costs - size
Fuel payment method - poorly insulated
Unemployed - solid walls
Age 16-25 year olds - inefficient heating system
Older person - off-gas network
Multi persons- dependent children - Tenure- private rented sector
The effect of cold homes on health
18-20C Heating homes to at least 18C in winter poses minimal risk to
the health of a sedentary person, wearing suitable clothing.
Under 18C Increase blood pressure and risk of cardiovascular disease.
Under 16C Diminished resistance to respiratory diseases.
Under 12C Fall in body core Temperature, increasing blood pressure, increase in
Under 5C Poses a high risk of hypothermia.
Cold homes could possibly impact on health: heart attack, strokes, respiratory
disease, influenza, worsening of existing health conditions, falls/injuries, hypothermia, mental health illnesses, risk of carbon monoxide poisoning, poor nutrition.
Damp and mould possible impacts on health: increased respiratory infections,
allergic response to airborne mould spores, house dust mites, reduced resistance to bacteria and viruses.
Tackling fuel poverty and Achieving affordable warmth:
1. Get advice about energy use- advise on heating systems, fuel use, heating appliances and available tariffs.
Set the temperature correctly- optimal is 21C in main living areas, 18C in other rooms. Turning the temp down by 1 degree when the room is at a comfortable temperature will help cut the heating bill. Use a thermostat to control heating.
Warm-up and cool down times- set heating to come on shortly before waking up time, and off half an hour before everyone leaves. Set the heating to switch off shortly before the house is going to bed.
2. Better energy efficiency in homes: getting energy efficiency advice, improved insulation, efficient heating systems and controls.
Boilers- get an annual check to help ensure efficiency and safety. Consider replacing it if the boiler is over 10 years old for improved efficiency.
Radiators- set temperature valves on radiators in main living spaces to high, and turned down in any unused rooms. Make sure they are the correct size for the room. Fit radiator reflectors behind radiators to help direct the heat into the room, not the wall. Try to avoid putting furniture in front of radiators.
Supplementary heating- reduce use of stand-alone electric heaters, they are expensive and so should be limited to emergency use.
Close curtains and doors- draw curtains at dusk to keep heat in. Close internal doors to keep heat in the rooms which are in use. Use draft excluders where possible.
Put on an extra layer of clothing before turning the heat up above 21C.
Use a clothes airer to dry clothes. Putting clothes directly on radiators stops the air circulating and makes the heating work harder, costing more money.
Switch appliances off at the mains, rather than leaving them in standby mode.
Reduce condensation- put lids on pots while cooking, close kitchen and bathroom doors while in use and open windows or turn on extractors to let out steam. Avoid hanging washing indoors if possible, ventilate/ air out rooms, cupboards, wardrobes, etc to avoid air becoming stagnant, uncover air bricks and ventilators if necessary, use dehumidifiers, and avoid vacuuming or brushing mould when dry.
3. Maximising Income- budgeting, money and debt advice.
Warm Home Discount Scheme-
Eligibility- funded by the energy suppliers, qualifying individuals by virtue of being in receipt of the Guarantee Credit element of Pension credit will receive a notification letter from DWP advising they qualify for the £140 annual discount. A broader group of people may qualify to apply directly to their energy providers for the WHD by meeting their providers qualifying criteria. This came be found by visiting: www.gov.uk/the-warm-home-discount-scheme/eligibility
Many energy providers also have grants/support funds that may be able to help you with either costs of your bills, or towards improving your home heating systems. Contact your provider to see what support you may be eligible to receive. Or, the following agencies:
Let’s Talk Energy Fund
Charis Grants- www.charisgrants.com
Turn 2 Us- www.turn2us.org.uk/
Priority Services Register (PSR)- A free service provided by fuel suppliers and network operators.
Eligibility: pension age, are disabled or chronically sick, have long-term medical condition, have hearing or visual impairment or additional communication needs, are in a vulnerable situation, live with a child under 5 years old.
Services provided: Password scheme, statements in large print or braille, meter reading service, meters moved to an accessible location, controls or adapters for appliances, statement nominee scheme, priority in an emergency (alternate heating or cooking facilities in the event of loss of supply), free annual gas safety check (subject to additional qualifying criteria), advance notice of planned disruption to electricity supply, provide a special telephone number to reach a person in the event of a power cut, keep informed about any loss of electricity supply, work with the oxygen providers to provide assistance during longer power cuts, share information with other responding agencies in the event of an emergency.
British Gas- 0800 072 8625 or 0800 294 8604 (pay as you go)
EDF- 0800 269 450
E-On- 0345 052 0000
NPower- 0800 073 3000
Scottish Power- 0800 027 0072
SSE- 0800 622 838
UK Power Networks- 0800 029 4285
WaterSure Scheme (PSR for water companies):
Eligibility- Have 3 or more children under 19 living the property (and receive child benefit) OR have someone in the home that has a significant medical condition which requires significant additional use of water. AND be in receipt of one of the following: Universal Credit, Housing benefit, Income support, Income-based Job Seekers Allowance, Working tax credit, Child Tax Credit (except families in receipt of the family element only, Pension credit, Income-related Employment and Support Allowance.
Services Provided- The offer qualifying registered customers data sharing with other utility companies, possible capping of bills to ensure these customers do not cut back on how much water they use because they are worried about how to pay their bill.
If you are living in a property that has an EPC rating band D, E,F or G, you may also be eligible for support from the local authority. You can find a list of participating local authorities here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/sustainable-warmth-competition-successful-local-authorities
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