Alex Cunningham, Labour MP for Stockton North, is encouraging over-75s across the Stockton Borough on low incomes to access all available help to pay for rising energy costs, and has also called for tougher action against the energy companies whose price hikes are contributing to a cost of living crisis.
Since the beginning of October, and just as colder weather is drawing in, three of the “Big Six” energy companies have announced significant price hikes, while a further company has announced that a tariff offering fixed energy prices to pensioners will be abolished.
One source of assistance Alex is urging constituents to consider is the Warm Home Discount Scheme, run by energy companies and offering a rebate of £135 for Winter 2013-14. Those individuals classed as pensioners at 20 July 2013 can qualify for a Warm Home Discount if they are either:
- under 75 and only in receipt of the Guarantee Credit element of Pension Credit;
- 75 or over and in receipt of the Guarantee Credit element of Pension Credit – even if they also get the Savings Credit part.
To qualify for the discount, applicants must be in receipt of energy bills in their name or their partner’s name, and must be customers of energy suppliers taking part in the scheme. Under-75s on a low income and with a disability, long-term illness or children may also be eligible for the discount, though qualifying criteria vary between energy suppliers.
“It is important that people are aware of all the help which is available to them in the face of spiralling energy costs. The Warm Home Discount Scheme is one way of helping people get by in these very difficult times, but I would like to see much greater action taken. Labour’s commitment to freeze energy prices if elected in 2015 will go a long way to help struggling families and single people with their heating bills.”