December 12 2013 Latest news:
Monday, November 4, 2013
A charity which helps older people says the controversial hike in prices by energy companies has led to an influx of people worried about how they will manage their fuel bills as winter approaches.
In recent weeks, four energy companies have announced increase which will average more than 9pc, with Npower, British Gas, Scottish Power and SSE all putting up prices.
And Age UK Norwich, which recently opened a new advice centre in London Street, said they have had a “major rise” in enquiries about managing fuel costs.
Phil Wells, chief executive of Age UK Norwich, said: “We have had a major rise in enquiries about managing fuel costs – so much so we have not been able to take time out to count them.
“Now is the time to take action if your house is cold in winter, whether it is getting a grant for energy efficiency work, advice on finding the best tariff, help with dealing with fuel debt or ideas on getting out to a warm social activity or lunch club, people are welcome to drop in for advice.”
Nationally, Age UK says more than three million older people are concerned about staying warm in their own home this winter.
The charity is urging older people and their friends and family to be prepared this winter and is also calling on MPs of all parties to support investment to boost the energy efficiency of older people’s homes and help them keep warm.
As reported, public health bosses are worried that parts of the Norwich area see a disproportionately high number of winter deaths and have launched a campaign to stop more people dying this year.
Public health experts believe that, in the city, there are between 60 and 80 more deaths during the winter than the rest of the year.
They say the number of what are known as “excess winter deaths” is on the rise and there are three wards – Sewell, Sprowston Central and Town Close – where the number of such deaths is particularly high. Almost all were older people and most of them had a long-term condition such as heart or breathing problems.
The campaign has been organised by the NHS Norwich Clinical Commissioning Group, Norfolk Community Health and Care NHS Trust, Age UK and local councils.
Dr David Goldser, of NHS Norwich Clinical Commissioning Group and a GP at the city’s St Stephens Gate Medical Practice, said: “There have always been greater numbers of people who become more ill and greater numbers of deaths during the winter months because cold weather can make some medical conditions considerably worse.
“However with a little forward planning and extra care, people can protect themselves and reduce the risk of becoming seriously unwell.”
Among top tips are for people to contact GPs or pharmacists to see if they qualify for a free NHS jab.