Preparing to cope with winter

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STRUGGLING Hartlepool and East Durham people have been issued with advice to help them cope in an Arctic weather.

A free national helpline operated by Britain’s major energy suppliers has urged people to take action and protect themselves this winter. The Home Heat Helpline is a free service providing independent advice to people and families on low incomes about managing their energy bills. Home Heat Helpline spokesperson Karen Roe said: “With the temperature expected to drop we want anybody who is worried about staying warm and paying their energy bills to give us a call.”

It includes:

l Switch your lights off when you’re not using them

l Turn appliances like TVs and phone chargers off at the wall rather than leaving them on standby when they’re not being used

l Replace normal light bulbs with energy efficient ones

l Regularly defrost your freezer to make sure it’s operating at full efficiency

l Draw curtains over windows at night to provide insulation for the room

l Move furniture away from radiators and heaters to allow heat to circulate around the room

l Turn radiators down in rooms which you only use occasionally

The Helpline’s trained advisers can provide eligible callers with access to services including free or discounted home insulation and discounts and rebate schemes.

The line can be accessed on 0800 336699 or by visiting www.homeheathelpline.org.uk. But officials have also issued advice for people to follow in the meantime.

It can also provide checks on benefit entitlements and details of the Priority Service Register, which can provide extra services for people who are elderly or disabled (including bills in large text or Braille, security passwords and an annual gas safety check).