Query over energy bills discount for older people

Waterside Sinn Féin Councillor Bridget Meehan has written to Social Development Minister Nelson McCausland to enquire if pensioners can get discounts on their gas bills.

Colr. Meehan asked the Minister if people in receipt of pension credits can avail of schemes similar to those in place in England, Scotland and Wales.

These schemes offer a Warm Homes Discount of £135 off the bills.

The Waterside councillor said; “With winter upon us, people are more and more anxious about the rising cost of heating their home. “With 30% of Derry households in fuel poverty and 76% of households headed by a person aged 75 plus heating the home is a very real concern for many of us.

“We are aware that those in receipt of pension credits in England, Scotland and Wales are offered a Warm Home Discount of £135 by British Gas.”

Colr. Meehan said older people would welcome any possible reduction in the cost of their energy bills.

“I have written to the Social Development Minister Nelson McCausland, asking if there is an equivalent scheme offered by any of the energy providers here in the North.

“And if not, whether he plans to enter into any negotiations with energy providers to replicate the scheme here.

“Given that energy and fuel costs are higher in the North than in Britain, it is increasingly important that ways are found to reduce those costs.

“There are people who are struggling to heat their homes,” she added.