Cheaper Gas For The Winter - A Pensioners' Guide
Energy used in homes is responsible for more than a quarter of the UK's carbon emissions, and about 80 per cent of the energy we use is for heating.
This is why turning down your thermostat, having good insulation and more efficient boilers can help tackle climate change, reduce air pollution, cut fuel bills and can add value to your home.
Despite this, it is troubling to think that the majority of pensioners still pay over the odds to their gas suppliers.
Yet with the right information and guidance, there are many ways to lower payments and use the extra money saved for more important things in life.
For example, by saving or investing in products that help to insulate the home, over the long run the money you save on the gas bill will pay back the outlay on keeping your home warmer.
Of course, one question many pensioners will be asking is that of where to find the money needed to carry out those improvements.
Help with insulation
There are a number of sources of funds that can help.
* If you get a disability or income-related benefit, you may be able to get a government Warm Front Grant of up to £2,700 (or up to £4,000 in some cases) to help pay for heating and insulation improvements to your home. Call 0800 336699 for more information and help.
* You may be able to get energy efficiency grants and discounts from your local council. To qualify you may need to be claiming certain benefits. To find out if you're entitled to anything, contact your local council.
* Many energy suppliers offer special offers and discounts that significantly reduce the costs of making energy saving improvements to your home. To find out if you qualify for any of the grants or special offers available nationally or locally, use the grant finder on the Energy Saving Trust website.
Of course, pensioners should also make sure they are getting the right amount of money that they are entitled to with regard to their retirement income.
There are several types of pensions:
* State pensions
* Additional state pensions, such as Serps, the State Second Pension and Pension Credit * Personal pensions and stakeholder pensions
* Company or occupational pensions
Making sure you are eligible for these benefits is important, so call 0800 99 1234 to find out if you are eligible.
Winter fuel payments
Being aged 60 or over, you may get a Winter Fuel Payment to help pay for keeping warm in winter.
How does this work?
If you are aged 60 to 79 and you are entitled to receive a Winter Fuel Payment, you will get either £100 or £200, depending on your circumstances in the qualifying week, which happens to be 17 to 23 September in 2007).
If you are aged 80 or over and are entitled to a Winter Fuel Payment, you will get an extra £50 or £100, so you could get up to £300, depending on your circumstances in the qualifying week.
You do not pay tax on Winter Fuel Payments.
However, if you need to make a claim for a payment for winter 2007/08, you should return your claim form by 30 March 2008. Winter Fuel payments are made by Christmas - as long as the claim is made before the end of September. If not, the money may be paid early the following year.
All of these payments can help pay towards the cost of your gas bill and possibly some insulation in the form of a draft excluder for example, adhesive strips for doors, windows, and even for the loft hatch.
Even this draft prevention will help towards the reduction in fuel bills paid to the various gas suppliers.
Control the temperature
In addition, there are other ways to control the temperature of your home such as:
* Thermostats for heating and hot water
* Radiator valves with attached thermostats
* Electronic timers
Using a timer ensures the heating is on when you need it. Not only will this reduce the energy you use, you will be paying less in bills and it will be good for the environment too.
Finally, there are many people who have always been with the same gas supplier and don't know that there are ways to compare gas suppliers. Thousands of people switch gas suppliers each week, more so than ever thanks to the introduction of price comparison websites that help to identify the potential savings to be made.
As a result of this sudden movement, energy providers are at competition with each other to give the customer the best deal.
This is why you really must check whether your gas supplier is the cheapest available. This can be done online and only takes a few minutes. You could be surprised at how much you save.
About the author:
I am an experienced writer based in the UK with knowledge of energy, energy providers, and always on the look out for better deals and savings for the consumer.
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