“It is extremely likely [95 percent confidence] more than half of the observed increase in global average surface temperature from 1951 to 2010 was caused by the anthropogenic increase in greenhouse gas concentrations and other anthropogenic forcings together.”
Statement issued by the Fifth Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
It is a pity that a statement which could have such significance on our futures in general and how we manage the energy we use in particular is not written in a way which is easy to understand. Whatever effect global warming will have on our weather in the future and whether it is as a result of human activity or not one thing which is easy to understand is that the size of our gas and electricity bills continue to be a challenge. There is some good news however
Last year pensioners in Farnham contributed over £14,000 to a scheme initiated by the Lions by giving up their winter fuel allowance so that it could be used to help people in fuel poverty. Less well off pensioners or others who are classed as vulnerable can get help with gas and electricity bills during the winter months. You may be classed as vulnerable if you are a pensioner, disabled, chronically ill, unable to look after your own welfare or living with someone who is unable to look after their own welfare
If you fall into one of these categories and are on a low income, you may be able to get extra help with managing your gas and electricity services or paying the bills. Examples include:
- The Priority Services Register. This is run by energy suppliers and offers free services for older people and those with disabilities. These include priority reconnection following a power cut, a service to take regular meter readings if you’re unable to do it yourself, and bills tailored to your needs, including large print and Braille. You need to register with your supplier to take advantage of the services offered.
- Annual gas safety check. If you are a tenant, your landlord is responsible for sorting out gas safety checks. Otherwise. you can get a free annual gas safety check if you ask for one, if you get a means tested benefit such as Income Support or Universal Credit and if you live with a least one other child under five, or are of pensionable age, disabled or chronically sick and either live alone or with others – all of who are either of pensionable age, disabled, chronically sick or under 18.
- The Winter Fuel Payment. If you are of the state pension age during the qualifying week (which always begins on the third Monday of September), or live with someone born on or before that date, you may be able to get the Winter Fuel Payment. It is also often known as the Winter Fuel Allowance.
- Warm Home Discount Scheme. Many pensioners and people on certain benefits can get an automatic rebate (of as much as £135 this winter) on their electricity bills.
- Cold Weather Payments. People who get certain benefits can get help with their additional heating costs if it is very cold during the winter.
- Grants and schemes for home insulation. Well insulated homes mean smaller energy bills. There are a number of schemes from energy companies and the government to help pay for the costs. Vulnerable customers or those on a low income may even qualify for free or discounted insulation.