IT'S officially spring. Having experienced excessive energy bills all winter, we will all be in a hurry to turn down the dial and use less heating.

This doesn’t mean that our energy bills cease to be a problem but hopefully they become more manageable.

During the winter the Warmer Home Scotland scheme offered funding and support to households struggling to stay warm and keep on top of energy bills and the Child Winter Heating Payment is a benefit which has been available from the Scottish Government since 2020.

It’s a payment to help disabled children and young people and their families with increased heating costs over winter. There is also the Winter Heating Payment which helps people on low-income benefits who might have extra heating needs.

Understandably we may want to just enjoy the better weather and smaller bills but planning ahead at this time of year could be beneficial and help avoid debt next winter.

If you are pre-paying your energy but don’t have the money to do so, that can mean living without heat and light. The Fuel Bank Foundation provide people with the financial support and practical advice that they need to get back on their feet. And you may want to consider that the Scottish Government offers grants for up to £7,500 to install energy efficiency improvements and zero emission heating improvements and an optional £7,500 interest free loan.

There are many organisations that are expert in offering energy advice. Advice Direct Scotland provide free, practical advice and information on energy-related matters to the citizens of Scotland on anything relating to your supplier, no matter how complex.

The Wise Group deliver free, impartial energy advice and advocacy support to help people stay in control of their energy bills and keep warm and well at home. They also provide energy vouchers to those on prepayment and direct debit customers.

While we enjoy more hours of sunshine and put away the thermals until next winter it’s a good time to plan ahead.

If you require advice and support, then the following organisations may be able to help: – 0808 800 9060; Financial Fitness, Greenock - 01475 729239; Home Energy Scotland – 0808 808 2282; The Wise Group - or 0141 303 3131.