Residents can take advantage of two council schemes and advice from Chapeltown Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) that will help them stay warm, healthy and keep money in their pockets. And Leeds City Council is asking residents to check on family, friends and neighbours before cold weather bites.
Since March 2010, anyone with a Leeds library card has been able to borrow an energy monitor from one of 22 libraries across the city.
The gadgets estimate how much money is being spent on electricity and how much carbon is being emitting on a handy, easy to use display. As lights and appliances are switched on and off, the monitors show how much each one contributes to electricity bills.
Armed with this information, people can decide how to use household gizmos to save money and energy.
And residents now have less than a week to claim their free insulation with the council-backed Wrap Up Leeds.
Insulation is one of the most effective ways of keeping homes warmer and helping people spend less heating their home while cutting carbon emissions. Wrap Up Leeds offers free cavity wall and loft insulation to home owners and people renting privately. The scheme ends on Friday 26 October.
Leeds City Council’s Reginald Centre will be hosting Chapeltown Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) and other local organisations on Thursday 25 October.
From 10am to 4pm CAB advisers will be helping people check they are getting the best deal from their energy company; are on the cheapest way to pay; and explaining how people might be able to save more money by switching suppliers. Plus they’ll be giving energy saving tips and talking about other help available to insulate homes.
And with nights getting longer and chillier the council is asking for people to be alert for friends, relatives or neighbours who may be at risk from the cold.
Underlying health problems can be made worse – or even fatal – if people don’t put their heating on; this may be due to broken heating controls, poor insulation or simply because they can’t afford it.
Councillor Mark Dobson, executive member for the environment, said:
“Energy price hikes are a real blow to anyone already struggling to keep warm and pay their fuel bills. But with winter on the way, it really can become a matter of life and death for some.
“Keeping warm keeps you well and there are simple steps people can take to make sure they stay healthy while saving energy and money. One of the easiest things we can do is keep an eye on people to make sure they aren’t suffering from the cold needlessly.
“With the advice available throughout Big Energy Saving Week and with the support of schemes like Wrap Up Leeds and the energy monitors in libraries, we can give fuel poverty the cold shoulder.”
Nick Morgan, Chapeltown CAB CEO said:
“More and more people are coming to us for advice on how to spend less on their fuel bills. While we continue to help people on a daily basis with face to face, telephone and online advice – there is a real need to reach out to more people who are struggling and Big Energy Saving Week will be a chance for us to do just that.”
Wrap Up Leeds, LATCH, Green Doctor, Chapeltown Development Trust, Feel Good Factor and others will be joining Chapeltown CAB throughout Thursday 25 October.
Big Energy Saving Week runs from 22 to 27 October and help and advice is available at www.bigenergysavingweek.org.uk.
Home owners and people renting privately can claim their free cavity wall and loft insulation at www.wrapupleeds.co.uk or by calling 0800 052 0071 until Friday 26 October.
Anyone with a Leeds library card can borrow an energy monitor for three weeks, like they would a book.
Top tips to keep warm and well in winter include:
- Check the weather forecast and be ready for cold weather.
- Make sure you have food in the house as hot meals will help keep you snug.
- Have plenty of hot drinks like tea, coffee or hot water as this will help to keep you warm, boiling the amount of water you need each time.
- Make sure you have enough of your prescription medicines.
- Make sure you have your flu jab.
- Make sure you can check the temperature in your living room and bedroom; your main living room should be 21C and your bedroom should be 18C.
- Wear a few layers of thin clothing rather than one thick layer.
- Cover yourself with a blanket or shawl if you are sitting for long periods and put your feet up if you can; the air is colder near the floor.
- Tuck curtains behind radiators, this will keep the heat in the room.
- Keep moving if you can, this will help keep you warm.
Top tips to save energy and money include:
- Insulate your home with Wrap Up Leeds.
- Turning your thermostat down by 1ºC could cut your heating bills by up to 10 per cent and save you around £65 per year.
- Your hot water thermostat shouldn't be set higher than 60ºC/140ºF.
- Close your curtains at dusk to stop heat escaping through the windows.
- Always turn off the lights when you leave a room.
- Don't leave appliances on standby and remember not to leave appliances on charge unnecessarily.
- It’s best to wait until you have a full load if you’re using the washing machine, tumble dryer or dishwasher; but if you really can’t wait, then use the half-load or economy programme.
- Only boil as much water as you need.
- A dripping tap wastes at least 5,500 litres of water a year; if you are on a water meter, mending your dripping tap could save you over £18 a year.
- Replace your light bulbs with energy saving recommended ones: each one you fit can reduce your lighting costs by around £40 over the lifetime of the bulb - and they last around 10 times longer than ordinary light bulbs.
For media enquiries please contact:
Amanda Burns, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 395 1577