Scots have been urged to seek energy help and advice from Home Energy Hotline.
The move is part of a Scottish Government campaign to encourage people act now to cut their bills and make their homes warmer by seeking advice from the hotline on 0800 512 012.
By calling the free number, people can join more than 230,000 Scots who have already benefited from expert energy advice, get help to cut their energy bills and improve the warmth of their home.
Friendly advisors can provide details of free offers, discounts and other support available, whether you are renting or a homeowner.
The Scottish Government has boosted investment and support to tackle fuel poverty and help Scots to have warmer, affordable and greener homes.
This year, a further £7.5million is being made available to help households across Scotland replace inefficient boilers. It was recently announced that a further £6million is helping improve insulation – all part of action to increase energy efficiency and tackle fuel poverty in 2012/13.
Everyone can get help of some kind. As well as receiving money-saving energy advice, households may be eligible to receive £400 towards the cost of replacing their old, inefficient boiler with a new model, which could cut up to £300 from their annual fuel bills.
Many will be in line for free loft and cavity wall insulation, and some will even receive a full central heating system at no cost to them.
Deputy First Minister and Cabinet Secretary for Infrastructure, Investment and Cities, Nicola Sturgeon, said: “Scotland is an energy rich nation and everyone should live in a safe, warm, affordable home.
“The Home Energy Scotland Hotline is a vital source of information for families across Scotland, providing comprehensive advice on energy saving to support those most in need.
“I would urge anyone who has not looked at loft or cavity wall insulation, or those looking to replace their old and inefficient boiler, to contact the hotline as soon as possible to find out about the range of offers available to help them cut their household heating bills this winter.”
Mike Thornton, representing the Home Energy Scotland Hotline said: “By acting now, people throughout Scotland can benefit from free advice, insulation or central heating.
“The cold weather is definitely upon us and with energy costs rising, it’s important for everyone to do what they can to keep their energy bills down. Savings can even be made with simple energy-saving tips – one call to the hotline is all it takes.
“Our trained advisers are happy to take the time to discuss individual energy needs and offer the most appropriate advice.
“From simple money saving tips such as turning your thermostat dial down a degree for a saving of 10 per cent off your annual heating bill to applying for a voucher for a new boiler or getting free insulation.
The whole process is straight forward and we act quickly. Upgrading your boiler can save you as much as £300 and installing insulation is one of the most cost-effective ways to waste less energy at home.
Calling the hotline will give you peace of mind that you won’t be left out in the cold”.
To find out exactly what you are eligible for – whatever your circumstances, call the Scottish Government’s Home Energy Scotland Hotline now on 0800 512 012 or go to www.homeenergyscotland.org.uk . Act now to make your home warmer.
Marilyn and Douglas live in Stewarton
At the end of last year, they had a new boiler installed and received a £400 voucher towards its cost through the Boiler Scrappage Scheme.
Marilyn found out about the scheme by contacting the Home Energy Scotland Hotline.
She said: “Our boiler was more than 20 years old – it was connected to an extended central heating system which kept breaking down.
“Having a new boiler fitted has given us peace of mind. The process of applying for the voucher towards the cost of the boiler and arranging to have it replaced was also simple. We are already saving money on our energy bills.”
Brendan moved into a stonewall cottage just outside Falkirk and soon had problems keeping warm.
The boiler was unreliable.
It broke down continuously and had to be serviced regularly, which wasn’t cheap. He contancted the Home Energy Scotland Hotline and the advisers told him about a voucher he could apply for towards the cost of a new boiler.
The boiler was replaced in November last year and Brendan has already noticed a difference.
He said: “Having a new boiler fitted after years of living with a faulty one has been life-changing. I’m so pleased I decided to get in touch – one call was all it took.
“The advisers discussed my energy needs at length. The process of applying for the voucher towards the cost of the boiler and arranging to have it replaced was also really simple. The work was carried out quickly with little inconvenience.”
Stuart Harding Stuart, of Edinburgh, got help with upgrading his boiler thanks to the hotline.
He said: “The old boiler was removed and a new one installed in less than two days, with the whole process taking just under five weeks from start to finish. It was quick and straightforward.”
Making sure your home is properly insulated is a great way to save energy, money and do your bit for the environment.
By making sure you have the recommended 270mm of loft insulation, you could save up to £175 a year in bills.
Insulate your hot water tank to keep your water hot for longer. By insulating your hot and cold water pipes you can make sure your water runs at the right temperature more quickly.
Pipe and tank insulation is cheap and you can do it yourself.
Wall insulation can help keep the heat in – it doesn’t cost much and can be effective in helping cut your energy use which is great news for your bank balance and the environment.
Wind whistling through the living room? Draught proofing is a cost-effective way to reduce heat loss, with most materials available from DIY stores.
Did you know heat can also be lost through the floor? Insulating under the floorboards on your ground floor will save you around £60 a year, and you can seal the gaps between floors and skirting boards to reduce draughts.
Buy energy efficient appliances
Check the energy efficiency rating to make sure you are getting the best white good – check out the ratings at website www.energysavingtrust.org.uk