COUNCIL officials fear that families faced with “rocketing energy bills” may be forced to choose between “eating and heating their homes this winter.”
The local authority wants anyone struggling to contact their Affordable Warmth Team, which can offer advice on how to reduce energy bills and make them more affordable.
Cllr Trish Hardy, Sefton Council’s cabinet member for housing and communities said: “We’ve already experienced freezing temperatures this week, and I know those struggling to make ends meet, will be grappling with difficult choices.
“They will be trying to decide which bills they prioritise, and for some that may mean going without a decent meal.
“Energy price rises, combined with the government’s cutting of £20 per week from Universal Credit in October, has resulted in families across Sefton facing a tough winter ahead.
“I want to reassure our communities that our dedicated Affordable Warmth Team are here to help.
“They can help you to heat your home more efficiently and make your bills more affordable. The team are there for people in Sefton dealing with fuel poverty concerns and can help prevent them having to choose between putting food on the table and heating their home.”
In October, the national energy price cap increased by 12% which resulted in an estimated £100 increase on fuel bills each year. The recent gas crisis has pushed those bills up further to well over £200 more compared to last winter. At the same time, people relying on Universal Credit have faced a £1,040 annual drop in their income.
Sefton Council is reminding families on low incomes to contact the council’s Affordable Warmth Team by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 0151 934 2222, for assistance and advice on a range of topics.
Advice includes support for first time gas central heating, cavity wall insulation, boiler replacements and loft insulation. Smart meters are also available to all homes to help families monitor their energy usage.