FROSTY spells and large energy bills have left many people across the country worrying how they can afford to keep their home warm and cosy this winter.
The matter has caused so much concern, a collaboration of groups hosted the Big Energy Saving Week, a national campaign designed to help residents save money and energy.
Delivery partners include Energy Saving Trust Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB), Consumer Focus, Age UK and Home Heat Helpline.
I went to Camden in London to see how the scheme was taking off, last week (October 24).
It is well known that London is home to the country’s most energy inefficient buildings, with about two thirds of its housing stock un-insulated.
And as I walked into the bustling Citizens Advice Bureau I could hear evidence of the problem.
Despite it only being 11am all the staff and volunteers were occupied.
One woman was complaining to a staff member that her flat in a mansion block was cold, draughty and expensive to heat.
In other private rooms individuals gathered information about how swapping providers could help lower their bills.
Judy Whalley, Camden CAB advice service manager said: “This initiative is a great way to get people to talk about ways they can save energy. It is good to show people they don’t need to put up with huge bills, they can swap their provider, and make energy saving changes to their home.
“We will run more events like this throughout the winter, and we can offer advice on energy efficiency all the time and give people tips on how they can use less energy.
“During Big Energy Saving Week advisers will be explaining how people can cut their energy bills by an average total of up to £650 a year.”
There were also more practical options on hand as one volunteer showed the concerned flat dweller mentioned above, how to make her own draught excluder (pictured).
She said: “Using just a long net stuffed with material you can create a draught excluder for an incredibly low price, and it will stop all the heating you are paying for escaping from under the door.”
There were also leaflets available with ideas on how to decrease household energy expenditure, for example setting lights on a timer.
A representative from Camden country council explained: “Despite there being options to decrease the cost of your energy bill, not many people get round to looking into it. It can definitely be quite confusing and people think changing an energy provider is stressful.
“They don’t really know how easy it is but if they can call their council up for free they can speak to an advisor who will talk them through the potential solutions to their problems. The Big Energy Saving Week is great because it allows people to have this information.”