Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney AM Dawn Bowden urges households to ‘Keep a Step Ahead of Winter’

New research from British Gas has highlighted that having no heating or hot water would be the number one disaster for households in Wales this winter. Even so, many people in Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney have not taken action to ensure their homes are winter-ready.Despite the autumn chill, a national survey* shows that more than a third of households (39%) in Wales have not checked that their central heating is working and four in ten have not prepared their home for winter by getting their boiler serviced. Having an annual boiler service carried out by a Gas Safe registered engineer is crucial as it detects problems with the boiler and controls, including whether it is leaking poisonous carbon monoxide.

Keeping homes safe is an important part of winter preparation, yet only a third of people (33%) in Wales have checked that their carbon monoxide alarm is working. Carbon monoxide is known as the ‘silent killer’, because the gas has no odour or taste, and is invisible. Fitting an audible alarm is the second line of defence against carbon monoxide poisoning.

Being energy efficient is particularly important during the winter months, and technology can help with this. Whilst four in ten households in Wales acknowledge that technology could help their home to run more smoothly during winter, just under a third (32%) have smart meters.

Having smart meters installed can help keep household energy in check, as they automatically send readings to the energy supplier.  Smart meters also come with a display that shows you how much energy is being used, in pounds and pence, in near real-time, and identify where savings can be made.

Dawn Bowden AM said: “It’s really important to keep a step ahead of winter. I want everyone in Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney to understand what help is available for them, and for their family and friends. Being energy efficient and keeping bills under control is really important, so I’d encourage people to get in touch with their energy supplier to find out what support is on offer.”

 British Gas engineer Rob Jones, who fixes and repairs boilers in Wales, said: “Winter can be a challenging time for households, but there are some practical steps that you can take, with our help, to make sure that you are prepared:

Get the best deal

We have been working hard to ensure buying energy is simple, transparent and fair for customers – for every customer on a standard variable tariff they will get an Annual Energy Health Check to make sure they’re on the right tariff. This will highlight other ways we can help our customers save money like replacing old and inefficient boilers or insulating their homes for free.

Get smart meters

Your energy supplier will be able to install smart meters, which mean an end to estimated bills. A smart energy monitor shows how much energy you are using, and what you are spending. British Gas customers are provided with online tools to help them manage their energy usage. Find out more by visiting www.britishgas.co.uk/smartmeters

 The British Gas Energy Trust

This independent trust gives face-to-face advice, financial support and grants to help clear energy and household debts. The average grant is around £600 and you don’t have to be a British Gas customer. Find out more by visiting: www.britishgasenergytrust.org.uk.