Liverpool residents struggling to pay their fuel bills are being encouraged to seek advice from the city council’s energy experts.
The local authority’s Healthy Homes programme has been extended and is now open to anyone who has difficulty paying their gas or electricity bills – regardless of whether they own or rent a property.
The latest reports show 14.3% of households in the city are living in fuel poverty, which equates to around 30,000 homes – the worst rate in the country. It’s estimated poor housing conditions cause up to 500 deaths and 5,000 illnesses requiring medical attention each year.
According to the council, the aim of the Healthy Homes team is to reduce health inequalities caused by poor quality housing conditions, and as a result minimise the burden on the NHS.
The team of qualified energy awareness officers are on hand to perform a range of duties including:
- Give advice on understanding bills and using less energy
- Recommend the installation of LED lighting
- Draft-proof a property
- Help with minor window casement repair
- Organise repair or replacement of a boiler
- Organise to replace radiators
- Look at how residents can switch to a cheaper energy provider
- Check to see residents are receiving all the benefits they are entitled to
The service is free and can be accessed by calling 0800 012 1754. Any work carried out following advice from the team can potentially be covered by grants of up to £500 per property.
Councillor Frank Hont, cabinet member for housing, says: “We know there are huge numbers of people in this city who are on a low income and struggle to pay their fuel bills, and as a result can become poorly, and in worst case scenarios can lose their lives.
“We want to get the message out there that the fully trained Healthy Homes team is on hand to give free advice and support on what measures can be taken to stay warm and healthy.”