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A Warm Winter Thanks to Energy Efficiency Scheme
Summer may just be upon us, but Finaghy pensioner Hugh Maguire is looking forward to a warm winter thanks to the Help the Aged Energy Efficiency Project.
The project, funded by Northern Ireland Electricity, the Department for Social Development (DSD) and the Energy Savings Trust, provides fuel poverty proofing packages for free to older people living in owner-occupied or privately-rented dwellings, which currently have no central heating, or rely solely on Economy 7 electric or solid fuel central heating systems.
Up until last winter, Mr. Maguire had a solid fuel fire which he had not been able to use since his neighbourhood became a smokeless zone, and Economy 7 electric to heat his home and water. Mr. Maguire said: "It was the social worker that told me about the scheme. I was only able to keep one room, the living room, warm as that and the hall were the only rooms with radiators in them. In the winter I had to use a plug in electric fire to get any sort of heat in my bedroom.” Maguire is one of the 50 per cent of fuel poor householders in Northern Ireland are aged 60+. 1,280 people, the vast majority of them older people, died of cold related illnesses in 2004/5 (DSD statistic).
When asked the difference the new gas heating system has made to his life, Mr. Maguire said: "I am much happier with the gas heating. Now I have radiators in the whole house and my last electricity bill was about a fifth of the cost of those I used to get in the winter when I was using the electric heating.”
The 2006/7 Help the Aged Energy Efficiency Project is now open for referrals. Older people who think they might be eligible are encouraged to contact Help the Aged now so that successful referrals can have their new heating system installed before the winter arrives.
NIE's Delta Hamilton said: "By working together with the other funders and Help the Aged, we can make a major contribution towards improving the quality of life of the most vulnerable members of our society.”
Person who are aged between 50-60 and in receipt of Income Support or Housing Benefit or Rate Rebate and any component Disability Living Allowance Or do get Working Tax Credit with a Disability Element have a chance. Also single person aged 60+years and have an income less than £178.68 per week and savings no more than £10,000. Further couple with one or both with aged 60+years and a joint income less than £291.13 per week and savings no more than £20,000.
REHACARE; Source: Help the Aged
- To apply for the Help the Aged Energy Efficiency Project at: www.helptheaged.org.uk