19 April 2016
Today Macmillan and npower are committing to helping even more people diagnosed with cancer focus on getting better, rather than worrying about their energy consumption
Around one in five people diagnosed with cancer in the last two years have stayed in bed or gone to bed early to keep warm as a way to keep their energy bills down,[i] according to new research, released today by Macmillan Cancer Support and npower.
This new research highlights the impact a cancer diagnosis can have, with over 1 in 3 people (37%) diagnosed with cancer in the last two years surveyed saying they feel the cold more and around 1 in 5 saying their energy bills have increased as a result of their diagnosis and treatment[ii].
Today npower is committing an extra £3m over the next three years to the npower Macmillan Fund to help people living with cancer keep warm without the worry. npower’s Macmillan Fund, formerly the Fuel Management Programme, is the only programme in the UK that offers bespoke support to people living with cancer by capping energy bills and writing off debt.
People undergoing cancer treatment often experience feeling colder due to side effects such as weight and hair loss, reduced energy levels and circulation problems. As such these survey findings may come as no surprise. Amongst those surveyed whose energy bills had increased, around 4 in 5 (81%) said one of the reasons is because they are putting their heating on more [ii] with around 3 in 4 (74%) stating they are at home more.
Around one in six (17%) people diagnosed with cancer in the last two years say they have turned the heating off, even when they needed it on, as a way to keep their energy bills down while around 1 in 6 (17%) also said that they had worn a coat indoors to keep warm as a way to keep their energy bills down.
With npower’s help, Macmillan gives out an average of 41 heating grants every day with an average value of £194. These grants enable people living with cancer to heat their homes, when they have no other means.
Katie, aged 47 from Birmingham was diagnosed with breast cancer in August 2015. She explains how treatment made her feel the cold and how this lead to problems managing her fuel bills.
“When I was going through treatment for breast cancer, I felt freezing all of the time and just couldn’t warm up no matter what I did. I wanted to have the heating on all of the time but was struggling to cope financially. I’m a single mum of two and ended up just putting the heating on when the kids were getting ready for school in the morning. I’d then spend the day alone in a cold house and used to go to bed wearing a dressing gown and a woolly hat and still not feel warm.”
“Eventually I called the Macmillan Support Line and because I was an npower customer, I was put on npower’s Macmillan Fund. The advisor actually told me to go and put the heating on straight away! It was such a relief. They wrote off an outstanding payment and capped my bills to a manageable amount. I just thought it was too good to be true and really felt like I had won the lottery. Macmillan and npower lifted one of my worries and helped me to focus on getting better.”
Fran Woodard, Executive Director of Policy and Impact at Macmillan Cancer Support, says: “People going through cancer treatment are often at home more and also need to turn their heating up to deal with side effects such as weight and hair loss and circulation problems, all of which can make people feel colder. In addition, chemotherapy itself can have a side effect of making people feel cold. This all means that their energy use goes up whilst their income may be reduced. npower’s Macmillan Fund provides vital support to people undergoing cancer treatment, allowing them to focus on their health instead of their energy consumption.”
Clare McDougall, Head of Community at npower says: “Macmillan do such vital work and that’s why our employees have been supporting them for the last decade. Committing to another three years means Macmillan can count on our support to help keep the people warm without them having to worry.”
If you’re living with cancer and struggling to pay your energy bills, call Macmillan Cancer Support on 0808 808 0000 Monday to Friday, 9am to 8pm or visit macmillan.org.uk/keepwarm for more information.
[i] Source: Macmillan/YouGov online survey of 1,266 adults aged 18 and over in the UK with a previous cancer diagnosis. Fieldwork conducted between 22nd December 2015 and 5th January. The figures have been weighted and are representative of the living with cancer population. Results in this report are based on the 503 respondents who were diagnosed within the last two years. 19% said they had stayed in bed or gone to bed early to keep warm as a way to keep their energy bills down in the last 12 months. Other options included; Turn the heating off, even when they needed it on, Worn a coat indoors to keep warm, Used a hot water bottle instead of putting the heating on, Washed clothes or bedding less frequently, Turned the lights off, even when you needed them on, Avoided going home, to save putting the heating on, Had a hot bath or shower instead of putting the heating on and Made a cold meal instead.
[ii] 21% of people surveyed who were diagnosed with cancer within the last two years reported their energy bills had increased as a result of their cancer and treatment.
For further information, please contact:
Lucy Morrison, Senior Media and PR Officer, Macmillan Cancer Support
020 7840 4985 (out of hours 07801 307068)
Notes to Editors:
Over the last 12 years, npower has given over £7 million to Macmillan and has helped over 29,000 families by providing them with support such as emergency energy grants or writing off their debt.
About npower’s Macmillan Fund
Set up in 2007, npower’s Macmillan Fund is specifically designed for customers who are living with cancer, to help them better manage their fuel costs, meaning that those who need it most can keep warm without the worry.
People affected by cancer often have higher energy bills, because cancer and its treatments leave them feeling the cold more. As a result of this and being at home more, their energy consumption increases at a time when their income has dropped significantly – often leaving people facing fuel poverty.
Customers can access the fund by contacting the Macmillan Support Line directly. If they are eligible, the Energy Advice Team will arrange a reduced payment plan for the customers living with cancer so they spend no more than 10 per cent of their income on their fuel bills. npower funds Energy Advisers on the Macmillan Support Line who can help people with cancer with their energy worries - regardless of who their energy provider is.
About Macmillan Cancer Support
When you have cancer, you don’t just worry about what will happen to your body, you worry about what will happen to your life. Whether it’s concerns about who you can talk to, planning for the extra costs or what to do about work, at Macmillan we understand how a cancer diagnosis can take over everything.
That’s why we’re here. We provide support that helps people take back control of their lives. But right now, we can’t reach everyone who needs us. We need your help to make sure that people affected by cancer get the support they need to face the toughest fight of their life. No one should face cancer alone, and with your support no one will.
To get involved, call 0300 1000 200
today. And please remember, we’re here for you too. If you’d like support, information or just to chat, call us free on 0808 808 00 00
(Monday to Friday, 9am–8pm) or visit macmillan.org.uk
RWE npower is a leading UK energy company and is part of the RWE Group, one of Europe’s leading electricity and gas companies. We serve around 6.5 million residential and business customers with electricity, gas and energy. Through RWE Generation, we operate and manage a flexible portfolio of coal, oil, biomass and gas-fired power stations, producing more than 10% of the electricity used in Great Britain. We are also on twitter - @npowerhq and Youtube.