Our Affordable Warmth advisors have been talking to more and more of you about managing your heating and electricity bills, and staying warm at home. While we're all spending more time in the house, that means spending more on our fuel - and that can lead to an increased risk of fuel poverty and unexpectedly high bills.
Our advisors are here to help, and we wanted to pull together some of our top tips and resources to give you the information you need.
If you have a pre-payment meter, restrictions on leaving the house can make things tricky. If you are isolating or shielding, and don't have access to top up your meter online or over the phone, you can ask someone to top up your meter for you if you have friends, family or neighbours who can assist.
If you don't, don't worry - contact your supplier as soon as you can and they will help you. They can send you pre-paid cards in the post, or add credit to your account remotely. Ofgem, the Government body responsible for energy companies, has lots of helpful information on what is in place to help you. We've also produced a quick video with all the information you need on emergency top-ups.
Help with your bills
If you're struggling with your bills in the current circumstances, there's lots of support available. You should contact your supplier in the first instance, who will be able to help with affordable repayments and get you into a better position. Energy debt is very common. We've got a helpful video for that too.
Changeworks' Affordable Warmth advisors can support you if fuel debt is a problem. They can give you advice on reducing your costs, help you apply for emergency funds, or even speak to your supplier on your behalf. Our advisors are available for help and advice 9am-5pm Monday to Friday. Call them on 0131 555 4010 (Edinburgh, Lothians, Borders) or 01463 259 712 (Highlands), or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Cut your gas and electricity costs
There are loads of ways you can reduce the amount of money you're spending on your fuel bills. If you haven't switched supplier recently, you might be able to get a cheaper rate elsewhere. Online comparisons are the best place to start, or our Affordable Warmth advisors can also help you through that process.
Small changes in the way you use electricity in particular can also lead to dramatic savings. Watch our video on how to avoid wasting energy, and see what you could do to cut those bills down to size.
If you have an older home, or issues with things like glazing and draughts, call Home Energy Scotland on 0808 808 2282 to speak to their friendly advisors. They can give you advice on every aspect of energy efficiency and help you make even more changes to cut your costs.