Nearly four out of 10 families are concerned about affording their energy bills this winter, with around six million households planning to cut back on heating.
In response to these worrying figures from a survey for the Consumer Focus watchdog, a group of organisations are urging families to find out whether they are eligible for funding from a government scheme to help keep their house warm.
Warm Front, a scheme to help the poorest households with insulation and cutting their bills, was underspent by more than £50 million over the last year.
Consumer Focus, Citizens Advice, Age UK and the National Children's Bureau have all teamed up to make struggling families aware that they can get help with their energy bills, and to make sure the scheme money is put to good use.
"A cold home can damage your health, so it's very worrying that high energy prices are leading so many people to cut back on their heating," said Jonathan Stearn, Consumer Focus programme director.
"We want to make sure that as many people as possible are helped to cut their bills and stay warm and well through the Warm Front scheme this year. We would urge anyone struggling with their bills to find out if they can claim free help."
The scheme can help cut bills by providing improvements worth up to £3,500 to qualifying households.
Improvements can be worth as much as £6,000 where oil central heating and other alternative technologies are recommended.
With this in mind, it is definitely worth checking to see if you are eligible.
Grants are available for improvements such as:
- loft insulation
- draught proofing
- cavity wall insulation
- hot water tank insulation
- gas, electric, liquid petroleum gas or oil heating
- glass-fronted fire; the Warm Front scheme can convert your solid-fuel open fire to a glass-fronted fire.
Warm Front is currently being phased out, so this will be the last year in which you can apply for the scheme. Once it's exhausted, it won't be making a reappearance.
However, Age UK spokesman Mervyn Kohler revealed that applications are really low so far. If the entire budget isn't used then the scheme may gift an underspend back to the Treasury.
Remember, you can also significantly reduce your energy bills by following some simple tricks and tips.