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New energy support services aimed at older and vulnerable people in Highlands launched by Age Scotland with SGN as many face a difficult winter

By Val Sweeney

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Age Scotland and SGN have teamed up to offer an energy support service for older people.
Age Scotland and SGN have teamed up to offer an energy support service for older people.

Age Scotland has launched new and free energy support services to ensure older and vulnerable people are getting the help available.

Fuel poverty affects one in three older households in Scotland and with many facing a difficult winter due to rising energy and living costs plus uncertainty in the energy market, the charity has teamed up with gas network company SGN which is funding the new service.

It is offering online home energy workshops providing practical advice on staying safe and warm, using energy affordably and efficiently, advice on energy tariffs, and accessing benefits and financial support.

People can also call the free helpline on 0800 12 44 222 to discuss energy matters troubling them.

SGN’s frontline engineers and customer experience centres are also working to identify older people’s needs and make referrals to Age Scotland.

The new service has been launched as the Courier is also highlighting fuel poverty through our End the Chill campaign – the Highlands are among Scotland's worst-affected regions with 33 per cent of households living in fuel poverty and 22 per cent deemed to be living in extreme fuel poverty.

Age Scotland’s chief executive Brian Sloan said staying warm was central to older people’s health and wellbeing but the charity’s helpline regularly heard from callers facing unique challenges in managing this in their own home.

"Whether it is the high cost of their bills, inefficient heating systems, or living in a cold and draughty building, there is help, advice and support available, but they just might not know where to turn," he said.

"It’s clear that many older people would benefit from tailored advice on energy matters, as they may not be aware of the energy schemes in place to offer support, or may be reluctant to claim financial assistance despite being entitled to it."

Maureen McIntosh, head of customer experience at SGN, said during the pandemic, the Age Scotland Friendship Line was promoted by the company’s engineers and customer experience centres to help combat loneliness.

It was now funding the new advisory scheme.

For more information about the energy advice workshops, go to www.age.scot/energyworkshops.

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