Only 42 per cent of people in Cumbria can cover their fuel bills without struggle, reveals recent research by the Take Charge campaign spearheaded by Electricity North West.

In addition to this unsettling figure, the campaign has also found that 56 per cent of residents in the area are hesitant to improve their home's energy efficiency, owing to perceived high costs.

A further 11 per cent of those surveyed think renting their property hinders them from making energy-saving alterations.

These statistics support UK Government data illustrating the North West as home to England's second highest fuel poverty gap.

This data refers to the drop in fuel bills necessary for an average fuel-poor household to evade the label of 'fuel poor'. For the North West, it stands at £442.

14.6 per cent of North West households are categorised as fuel poor, indicating a household with an energy efficiency rating of Band D or below, and their remaining income after fulfilling housing and fuel expenses falls under the poverty line.

To tackle this issue head-on, Electricity North West has joined forces with Energy Saving Trust and Citizens Advice in the North West.

Launching Take Charge, their free support service aims to assist up to 25,000 households across the region year on year for the coming five years.

Already bearing fruits, over 10,000 residents have accessed this service ever since its inception in April.

Samantha Loukes, Head of Customer Inclusion at Electricity North West, said: “With fuel prices increasing and constantly in the news, it can be a worrying and overwhelming time for many people across the region.

"We’re here to help. Our friendly advisors at Citizens Advice in the North West are on hand to give impartial advice on how to save money and there is much-needed funding available for those who meet the criteria.

"I’d urge anyone who is worried about energy bills to get in touch with Take Charge today.

“There are many reasons why the North West is impacted. A combination of older, inefficient housing stock and lower than average incomes has meant rising energy costs have hit hard.

"North West residents can speak to our Take Charge Citizens Advice experts in confidence to help take control of their bills.

"As well as advice and tips, there’s also funding and grants available to help make homes warmer and more energy efficient.”

Everyday habits such as turning off unnecessary lights and using a clothes rack instead of a tumble dryer could yield savings of hundreds of pounds annually.

By simply unplugging unused electrical appliances, households could save up to £55 each year.

Reducing washing machine temperatures to 30°C could lead to savings of around £13.

Shaving one degree off the thermostat could save around £100 on average.

Similarly, being judicious with kettle usage by only boiling the exact water amount required can cut costs by about £11.

Shortening showers to four minutes per person in a typical house might result in total savings of £37 annually, factoring in water heating and billed water.

Extra conservation measures include keeping curtains closed at night for insulation and situating furniture away from radiators to facilitate appropriate heat circulation.

For more information and support contact Take Charge on (freephone) 0808 169 9924, WhatsApp 07893 950999 go to