Call to set up fuel poverty helpline for Dundee pensioners
A pensioners’ rights campaigner has backed calls to introduce a dedicated helpline to end fuel poverty in Dundee.
The Rev Erik Cramb from Dundee Pensioners’ Forum said he supports recommendations laid out in a new report by Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS).
Titled Hard Wired Problems, the report reveals that people who rely on electric heating are almost twice as likely to live in fuel poverty as the population of Scotland as a whole.
CAS has also warned that consumers are yet to see the impact of significant energy price rises – which were higher for electricity than gas – and believe a dedicated helpline would make a major difference to the problem.
With the winter looming, Mr Cramb, 78, believes many city pensioners are “suffering in silence” and will face the decision whether to heat or eat.
He said: “Fuel poverty is a very serious issue for pensioners.
“I have no doubt that we will be speaking to the city council about this very soon.
“On the whole, pensioners are pretty proud people and do not really say that they are having to choose between heating and eating.
“But we know that is happening through some of the conversations we have seen and heard.
“A helpline like that would be very much welcome because I suspect there’s a lot of people suffering in silence.”
The city council has spent more than £40 million across Dundee in a bid to make homes easier to heat and keep warm.
A further £800,000 was pledged for the external wall insulation programme which is expected to be completed in April 2019.
In 2016, Dundee was named the most “fuel poor” city in the UK.
Craig Salter, energy spokesman for CAS, said: “In some cases electricity is the only source available, as gas supply pipes don’t reach their home.”