- Scheme provides practical advice on energy costs, benefits and debt management and is on track to save hard up families £553,000
- One couple found to be eligible for almost £13,000 worth of help
- Across the country AWS projects have assisted over 30,000 homes in fuel poverty
This winter has seen the launch of a successful new initiative by National Grid Gas Distribution and Citizens Advice Coventry to bring warmth to vulnerable people across the country.
Today (Friday 17 February) is Fuel Poverty Awareness Day, an annual event run by NEA (National Energy Action) a charity seeking to end fuel poverty.
The event provides an opportunity to highlight the problems faced by those struggling to keep warm in their homes as well as showcasing work being undertaken to tackle the issues.
One such initiative was launched last October by Affordable Warmth Solutions (AWS), a community interest company set up by National Grid to tackle fuel poverty. It has involved working with Citizens Advice Coventry to launch a new service to help households across the Midlands, East Anglia, North London and the North West deal with fuel poverty issues.
The scheme offers advice and support in seven main areas. They are:
- advice on making the most of incomes and managing debt
- energy tariff advice including switching;
- energy efficiency measures such as loft and cavity insulation; advice on boiler replacements and heating solutions;
- support to help people manage their household budgets;
- home energy saving measures and aids and adaptations to improve health and quality of life ;
- aligning customers to priority services registers including, Western Power Distribution and Severn Trent; and
- Referrals to third-party agencies, for example, for advice on health and wellbeing.
Since its inception the initiative has achieved these major successes:
- 262 referrals to Citizens Advice Coventry
- £553,000 of potential additional income for vulnerable, hard-up householders through cost savings and benefit entitlements
- 53 people signed up to the Priority Services Register
- One vulnerable family receiving almost £13,000 worth of support
Other recent projects have been delivered in places including Derbyshire, Walsall, Suffolk, Manchester, Westminster and Barking and Dagenham (See notes to editors for more information).
Jeremy Nesbitt, Managing Director, AWS said: “Fuel Poverty Day provides an opportunity to focus on both the heart-breaking issue of people struggling to afford to heat their homes and the positive steps we can do to tackle this. We in AWS are committed to doing all we can to help alleviate fuel poverty.”
Jeremy added: “The new initiative we recently launched working alongside Citizens Advice Coventry is going really well and together we’re helping many people live in more comfortable and warmer homes, whilst maximising their opportunity for additional income.
“We hope to continue this good work and will look to implement similar schemes elsewhere that complement our highly successful programme.”
For more information on the scheme people can write to 35 Homer Road, Solihull, B91 3QJ telephone: (0121) 623 2052, email: firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.affordablewarmthsolutions.org.uk
For information on whether you are eligible for a free connection to the gas distribution network visit http://www2.nationalgrid.com/UK/Services/Gas-distribution-connections/Free-Gas-Connection/
For more information on Fuel Poverty Day and the working of the NEA visit http://www.nea.org.uk/campaigns-policy/fuel-poverty-awareness-day/