British Gas to offer £50 for free insulation referral
British Gas is offering a £50 incentive to anyone who refers a 'vulnerable' person for free loft and cavity wall insulation.
On top of giving anyone who refers people £50, the person who receives the insulation will also be given £50.
It isn't the first energy firm to offer a cash incentive to customers – Scottish & Southern Energy gives a £25 shopping voucher and E.ON hands out £100 to people who get free insulation – but it is the first time money has been offered to people simply for referring others.
The renewed efforts by the energy firms to tackle poor insulation comes after the number of people who died from hypothermia doubled last winter – there are more than 20,000 'winter-related deaths' in the country every year, according to the Office for National Statistics. "We want to get people looking out for others who need help," says Jon Kimber, managing director of British Gas New Energy.
Loft insulation can cut energy bills by £175 a year, and cavity wall insulation could shave £135 off costs, according to British Gas.
"Over eight in 10 people (83%) cut down or rationed their energy use this winter because of cost. For consumers battling high bills, energy efficiency is one of the biggest weapons they have," says Kevin Sears, energy efficiency expert at uSwitch.com.
"With suppliers desperate to hit carbon reduction targets set by the government, they are falling over themselves to offer consumers great deals on products such as insulation. The real challenge to suppliers is raising awareness of the money on offer," he adds.
British Gas is currently struggling to hit its target of installing free insulation in half a million vulnerable homes by 2013.
Qualify for free insulation
In order to qualify for free insulation from British Gas you need to either be receiving State Pension Credit; or Child Tax Credit with an income below £16,190; or an income-related benefit, such as income support.
If you know anyone who fits this criteria you can inform British Gas by calling 0800 975 1195. There is no limit on the number of people you can refer and you will receive your £50 once the insulation has been fitted.
Child tax credit
A scheme started in 2003 that sought to replace a raft of other tax credits and benefits, the payout depends on the number of dependant children in a family, and its level of income. The amount of credit is reduced as income increases. It is payable to the main carer of a child, usually the mother, and is available whether or not the recipient is working.