Vital help and advice over energy supply and bills

Action is needed to help address fuel poverty issues as the energy crisis continues, according to the head of a Northumberland organisation.

By Andrew Coulson
Tuesday, 28th September 2021, 11:27 am
Andy Dean, Community Action Northumberland chief executive.
Andy Dean, Community Action Northumberland chief executive.

But Andy Dean, CAN (Community Action Northumberland) chief executive, has also highlighted the support that is and will soon be available to those in need of help.

There are fears thousands of families in the county could struggle to put food on the table this winter due to soaring energy prices.

The Northumberland Gazette, Berwick Advertiser, News Post Leader, and Morpeth Herald are working with other JPIMedia newspapers across the UK to put pressure on the Government to ensure no vulnerable families find themselves without heating this winter.

Keep Us Warm This Winter is a JPIMedia campaign.

In response to our Keep Us Warm This Winter campaign, Mr Dean said: “During the cold winter months, many people in Northumberland are faced with a tough choice: heat or eat.

“There were 707 ‘excess winter deaths’ recorded in Northumberland over the last measured three-year period (pre Covid-19). The principal cause of these deaths is too many people living in cold, damp homes they cannot afford to heat.

“Fuel poverty hits people who pay a lot for their fuel, who have difficult houses to insulate and who are on low incomes. Unfortunately, many households in rural areas such as Northumberland suffer from all three of these issues meaning there are some very rural areas where over 30% of households are living in fuel poverty.

“The rapidly growing crisis in fuel costs will make this situation worse without intervention.

“Help is available. For many years, CAN has been providing support where we can and this will soon be extended through a new project funded through the Energy Industry Voluntary Redress Scheme to provide free advice to some of our most rural households who need help and support to minimise their energy bills and stay warm.

“This project will be fully launched very soon – keep an eye on our website for more information and contact details.

“Other services are also available such as those run by Newcastle-based ‘National Energy Action’ and Citizens Advice.

“However, national action is also needed. Reducing our dependence on fossil fuels will help tremendously in guarding against future international price fluctuations.

“In the short term all agencies – national and local – need to pull together to help those most in need.”