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Energy companies say they are crippled by green levies – but do you qualify for free assistance?

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Last week, John Sinfield, managing director of Knauf Insulation, sent a letter to the prime minister asking: “Do you really want to condemn more families to the choice of eating or heating this winter? Addressing the energy efficiency of our homes is the only route which offers permanent savings year on year.”

He was referring to Energy Companies Obligation (Eco), which makes energy companies pay to insulate homes of people receiving benefits and offer discount prices to pensioners.

Although the payments only make up about 4.5% of energy bills but energy companies have long insisted they are the reason for the rocketing prices. And it seems the Government is taking notice – George Osborne is expected to use the Autumn Statement to announce whether they’ll be kept.

So, if you’re thinking of taking advantage of the scheme, you’d better get a move on.

If you can answer yes to the questions below then you are eligible for the scheme:

Do you own or rent your property privately?

Do you receive one of the following benefits:

  • Pension Credit
  • Child Tax Credit (and your income is £15,860 or less)
  • Working Tax Credit (and your income is £15,860 or less) – plus one of the extra conditions below
  • Income Support – plus one of the extra conditions below
  • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance – plus one of the extra conditions below
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance – plus the support or work related element, or one of the extra conditions below

For some benefits you also have to fulfill one of these criteria:

  • You’re responsible for a child under 16 (or under 20 if they’re in education or training)
  • You get Disabled Child Premium
  • You get Disability Premium
  • You get Pensioner Premium
  • You’re 60 or over (only if you get Working Tax Credit)

To apply call the Energy Saving Advice Service on 0300 123 1234.

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