GHA Fuel Advisor Service

GHA Fuel Advisor Service helps tenants cut their fuel bills and keep warm

Tenants are keeping warm and cutting their gas and electricity bills thanks to the success of Glasgow Housing Association's Fuel Advisor service.

More than 2,700 GHA tenants so far have benefited from the free expert advice on how to stay warm during the cold weather while still keeping their household bills down.

Since its launch two years ago, the Fuel Advisor service has saved GHA tenants more than £300,000 on their bills.

With fuel and electricity costs rising, the officers expect to be busier than ever helping tenants save money as the cold weather bites.

The Fuel Advisors offer advice on how to cut bills and how to get access to the cheapest tariffs. They can also speak to the fuel provider on behalf of the tenants and arrange low cost payment arrangements with energy companies.

MSP for Glasgow Pollok, Johann Lamont, met with GHA tenant Gerald McCafferty who has saved more than £240 a year thanks to the fuel advice service.

Gerald, 62, said: "My bills were really hefty during the winter. I had to keep putting money into the meter all the time. The Fuel Advisor discovered I was on the wrong rate and changed my meter for me. I'm fair chuffed. I also had my timer set so the heating goes on for me in the morning.

"It's made a big difference. I've even recommended the service to my neighbour downstairs.??

Advisors in the North, South, East and West of the city carry out home visits or meet tenants in their local office.

Johann Lamont MSP said: "I welcome this important initiative. As winter approaches people are understandably anxious about the cost of keeping themselves warm. This is a useful, practical way of cutting these bills which we know are all too expensive.??

Tenants are offered Real Time Monitors which records the energy used and shows how much is being spent. The Fuel Advisors can then offer practical tips on how to cut bills while still keeping warm.

Maureen Mulvey, GHA's Energy Manager, said: "We know that many of our tenants are really concerned about the rising cost of their gas and electricity bills. The Fuel Advisor service is free for all of our tenants to use and can make a big difference.

"Tenants should be able to put on their heating during the cold winter months without the fear of receiving a huge fuel bill.??

Stanley Scott, 80, from Cranhill, had been paying a standing order each week for his gas.

His Fuel Advisor changed Stanley's tariff and got him a massive rebate of £1,584 from overpayments.

Stanley's rebate is enough to keep him in free gas and electricity for the next two and a half years.

Granddaughter Megan, 18, said: "My granddad was paying £20 a week for years for his gas. Even when he was in hospital and his place was empty, the money still came out of his bank. When I found out about it I asked for help and was put on to a Fuel Advisor.

"We were really happy to get the money back. We didn't expect it. The Fuel Advisors are a great service and I'd recommend them to everyone 100 per cent. I now look after him. We've moved to a new flat and we've been able to use the money to buy a new cooker and other things for the home.??

The first two Fuel Advisors started at GHA in September 2009. They were joined by another two recruits in January 2010 thanks to funding from the Scottish Government.

The Fuel Advisor programme is funded by GHA's Neighbourhood Renewal Team and the Scottish Government Wider Role fund. The Real Time Monitors are supplied by Scottish and Southern Energy as part of a partnership with GHA.

The Fuel Advisor service is one way GHA is contributing to Sustainable Glasgow - a partnership which aims to make Glasgow one of the most sustainable cities in Europe and reduce the city's CO2 emissions by 30 per cent by 2020.

Any GHA tenant who would like a visit from a Fuel Advisor should contact their local office who will arrange an appointment or phone the Customer Service Centre on 0800 479 7979.