Winter, Energy Prices

How to help elderly relatives with growing energy prices this winter

Posted 7th October 2021

This winter, UK households are set to be faced with soaring energy prices, so it’s important to know what can be done to help manage the expected increased costs, and particularly support elderly relatives through the colder months.
A surge in UK gas prices has caused several UK energy suppliers to go bust in recent months creating the issue of rising household bills. As 85% of UK homes use gas central heating, the UK has been one of the countries in Europe worst hit by shortages.
Gas prices have risen by a whopping 250% since the beginning of the year according to the BBC, with a 70% increase since August. 1.5 million customers have been affected by their energy providers collapsing because of climbing prices, and with October’s increase in the fuel cap – the maximum customers can be charged – it means many yearly household fuel bills will increase by £135 or more.

According to research by Age Scotland, energy bills and council tax were the biggest financial concerns for older people, so this news will be a worry for many. Since the lockdown began in March last year, 67% of respondents said their energy bills had increased because they stayed at home more, and many were uncertain if they could afford them. The increased charges just add more pressure to the older generation already struggling to pay their bills.
Other than stocking up on jumpers this winter, there are several things which older people, and their families can do to help manage increased energy prices.
Make energy-conscious Choices
It’s really important to get organised and get into the routine of making energy-efficient decisions. For example, turning off devices when on stand-by and buying appliances which are energy efficient are easy and affordable things to do. There are other options available too, such as using more renewable energy, installing more energy-efficient boilers and ensuring homes have double-glazing and good insulation. Making simple, smart choices can make a real difference.
Contact your energy provider for help
It's important to take advantage of the schemes and support that are available to older people, as they are often classed as vulnerable customers. Make sure you contact your energy provider to see what support there is available, as usually there are provisions in place and potential extra credit in emergencies. For example, anybody over State Pension age or anyone living with a health condition or disability can be asked to be placed on the Priority Service Register. Access to a range of support will be provided, including help with prepayment meter access and advance notice of planned power cuts.
Government support schemes
There are also several government support schemes designed to help older people with their living costs, and to help them cope with the risks that cold winters bring. For low-income households, especially pensioners, the Warm Home Discount provides a £140 rebate off energy bills. This is a one-off discount and occurs between October 2021 and March 2022. Many older people are also missing out on Pension Credit which helps those of state pension age meet their housing costs, including payments for heating bills. When the average daily temperature is forecast to be zero degree Celsius or under for seven consecutive days, the Cold Weather Payment scheme – starting 1 November 2021 - helps cover heating costs. Additionally, the  Winter Fuel Payment scheme automatically provides anyone born or before 26 September 1955, and who is receiving either the State Pension or any other social security benefit with £100 to £300 every winter to help them meet their heating bills.
A harsh winter coupled with soaring energy prices could be a dangerous mix for older people, as it’s the time of year when they are most vulnerable and susceptible to illness. However, with the help and support of loved ones, there are options available to ensure they stay safe and warm through the colder months.  

Stay in the loop

Receive monthly newsletters direct to your inbox.

Home is where the heart is

Let’s give back their independence.

Navigation Menu