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Homeowners in Northern Ireland 'could save millions' on energy bills

Homeowners could save millions collectively on their energy costs by installing energy-efficient measures such as thermal insulation.

A study commissioned by the Energy Saving Trust found just 42 per cent of people would be willing to talk to family or friends if they were struggling to pay their fuel bills.

This is in spite of the fact that 34 per cent of individuals are currently struggling to cope with gas and electricity costs and only three per cent would consider seeking assistance from advice helplines.

Patrick Thompson, operations manager for the organisation in Northern Ireland, was quoted by the Belfast Telegraph as saying: "Our survey shows that everyone is feeling the pinch - no matter whether their salary is £15,000 or £55,000."

He added that short-term measures such as cutting out lunchtime treats are not adequate solutions to saving money and that this behaviour treats the symptoms of fuel poverty and not the cause.

The news provider has offered householders in Northern Ireland various steps they can take to reduce energy costs, one of which is thermal insulation.

Residents have been reminded to apply for grants that can help with the installation of cavity wall insulation and loft insulation - according to the Energy Saving Trust (EST), the latter can save families as much as £150 every year, provided it is fitted at the recommended depth of 270 mm.

The publication has furthered advised people to turn off all lights, appliances and chargers when they are not in use, as even switching a bulb off for a few seconds will preserve more electricity than is required to start it up again.

Also, homeowners should watch how often they use smaller household appliances, as a typical kettle will use around 2,400 watts, which is equivalent to lighting 160 energy-saving bulbs for the same period of time it takes to boil.

The advice follows recent price hikes from major UK power suppliers such as npower and British Gas, who raised their rates by 8.8 per cent and six per cent respectively.

The EST stated: "We can advise on energy efficiency, as well as signposting householders to get help on dealing with debt and managing fuel bills."

Posted by Helen Hughes