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Keep your clients warm for winter

My local newspaper has again been running pieces this week on the usual autumn topics with headlines such as, Rising prices could leave old folk in the cold, etc.

I do wonder how many of our older clients are still not aware of a great gas and electricity scheme called StayWarm.

This letter does not really relate to financial services as such but I do think as advisers we should certainly be bringing this to our clients’ attention as a matter of good financial planning.

I came across this scheme for the over 60s several years ago and I know many people who are now enjoying the comforts of a warm home 365 days of the year. Certainly, they are paying less now when compared with the normal quarterly bills.

StayWarm is a low-cost energy programme for any person aged 60 or more and is run by Powergen following what I believe was a Government initiative several years ago. Individuals sign up for a fixed weekly/monthly bill which covers all electricity and gas consumption for a fixed 12-month period. After 12 months the figure may be reviewed and my understanding is that only people in properties with three or less bedrooms can apply. For a couple, as long as one of them is 60 or over, they both would qualify.

Staywarm will need a couple of previous utility bills and then charge a low fixed weekly/monthly fee. The fee is calculated on how many individuals reside at the property, the postcode and number of bedrooms. Payments are made either at the post office or by direct debit and once the payment has been fixed consumption is unlimited, day or night.

I have no recent figures but I do know that back in 2003, a single person aged 60 living in the Halifax postcode region in a two-bedroom house would pay only 8.75 per week for unlimited gas and electricity. I am sure that rates have increased since then but it will still be attractive to many.

The sad thing is that this service is not really advertised but they do have a website at www.staywarm. co.uk and a phone helpline on 0800 1 694 694). The helpline is open Mon-Fri 8am to 7pm and on Saturday from 9am to 4pm.

Keeley Paddon

Pensions technical manager, SimplyBiz

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