Client names have been changed to protect their identity.

A young couple Zach and Harriet, following benefit sanctions, were faced with the choice of heating or eating. The client’s main source of heating was solid fuels; for which there is very little, if any, assistance to meet the costs of unregulated fuels. They had a key meter into which they would put £30 each until their savings would no longer sustain this amount of spending. Thereafter they would resort to spending all of their time living in a single room that was heated only by the residual heat from hot-water pipes. CAB was able to offer a full benefit check which resulted in increased household income. Assistance through the Money Advice team resulted in the clients being able to set up a manageable repayment plan with their creditors. Finally a referral to the local Housing Association Energy Advice team was made who offered a home visit to check insulation and draughts; provide guidance about how to reduce heat loss; advice about tariffs; and, how they can reduce bills as well as advice over eligibility for the Scottish Government’s Energy Assistance Package.