Wednesday, 11 September 2013

GETTING HUNKERED DOWN FOR A LONG WINTER Part 2 of 3

Continued from Part 1.



In reality I can have any power supplier I like as long as it is Scottish Power

I looked into changing energy supplier but discovered I could, but only if I spent a few hundreds of pounds to change my electricity meter, with no guarantee I would actually be able to get cheaper prices from another supplier anyway. Thus in reality I can have any power supplier I like as long as it is Scottish Power. I wrote to my MP about this and he told me I was making up my situation and of-course I could change supplier with no resultant charges (although the paperwork I sent to him from the 2 energy suppliers in question said different). My MP at that stage is now Lord Martin of Springburn and sits in the UK House of Lords, so he was well rewarded by being utterly useless at his job as speaker and MP too. I thought naively that Labour was meant to be the political party that tried to help, and also protect the most ill and most vulnerable. How wrong was I?



Living in a house where the warmest room is 12 degrees C is not pleasant in winter

Living in a house where the warmest room is 12 degrees Celsius is not pleasant in winter. I wear 6 layers on my top half, 3 layers including long johns on the bottom, woolly socks on my feet (sometimes several pairs), gloves with the fingers cut out on my hands, and a woolly hat on my head.

Charley the cat… was trying to get into the fridge for a heat

I used to have someone’s cat (a ginger tom called Charley) visit who always tried and once succeeded in serving himself from my fridge. Who this cat was owned by I don’t know, but I enjoyed his visits, although it became a standing joke amongst my friends that he was trying to get into the fridge for a heat! 



Now I heat the house to a lesser degree and offer my friends a jumper

I used to heat the house specially for my friends visits to a great extent. Now I do so to a lesser degree and offer them a jumper.

Contrary to most people I take off layers in the winter to go out, as the exercise makes me so warm I almost pass out.

My windows in winter are covered in bubble wrap to reduce the outflow of heat

I place bubble plastic over some of my windows to reduce the outflow of heat so I feel as though I am hiding behind frosted glass windows which is not good for morale. Fortunately when working I was well enough off to buy thick curtains so that helps a little too.

SNP Scottish Government may help with £300 towards double glazed units for my existing windows

I am currently trying to work out how to pay for double glazed units to be inserted into my existing window frames – I am again pleased that the SNP Scottish Government may help me with this up to the value of £300 through their Green Deal although I am currently trying to jump through the hoops required to get this money. It will if successful still leave an expected shortfall of £700 approximately which one of my friends has said they will lend to me with no interest and no idea as to when or even if I will be able to repay them.

  



Why is the Warm Home Discount such a secret?

I also happened upon a UK Government scheme last autumn by accident. I called the Energy Saving Trust who sent someone out to have a chat even although I was expecting nothing, and I actually discovered I could’ve been getting something called the ‘Warm Home Discount’ on my electricity bill.

I could’ve been getting it for several years but knew nothing about it

I called the DWP or Job Centre Plus and they claimed they knew nothing about it. I called Scottish Power and they stated I had to be a pensioner to get it. It was only after several attempts I finally got the information that I was looking for and applied for it, being successful of-course as I fulfilled several of the qualifying conditions and you only need to fulfil one.

Even if you qualify you may not get it as there is no money left, as there is only a finite amount of money in the fund

However it is a very odd system. I received no confirmation of an application, know that there is a finite amount of money in the fund so even if you qualify for it you may not get it as there is no money left, you never actually see the money as it is automatically added to your energy account, and you only find out if you are successful in your application after the winter for which the money was intended. However approximately £135 is better than nothing.




If you are on benefits no matter what age and are a householder contact your energy supplier now regarding the ‘Warm Home Discount’

However having applied for the Warm Home Discount again for this winter they seem finally to be getting their act together, i.e. this year at least Scottish Power has acknowledged my application so I know it hasn’t gone into a black hole. Oh and I was actually asked if I wanted to apply for it rather than trying to find the needle in the haystack that I went through last year.

Go to Part 3 .