- Affordable Warmth Solutions (AWS) marks a decade of lifting thousands out of fuel poverty and looks to a future where its redundant
- Over 48,000 homes connected to gas mains supply and providing £200m in lifetime energy cost savings for households
- AWS is Cadent’s main partner in its fuel poverty programme
Affordable Warmth Solutions (AWS) Cadent’s main fuel poverty partner is celebrating a decade of helping lift tens of thousands of households out of fuel poverty while looking forward to a future in which it makes itself redundant.
As the nation marks Fuel Poverty Awareness Day, AWS, has reflected on a decade of
success stories while looking forward to the day when the four million households still struggling with fuel costs are lifted out of fuel poverty.
AWS, was established in 2009, to help deliver energy industry regulator Ofgem’s objective to connect 10,000 fuel poor households to the gas network. It achieved its initial target of connecting 5,000 of these homes across the then National Grid gas distribution network and has since continued its efforts with National Grid, and since 2017 Cadent, to wage war on fuel poverty.
Highlights of the past decade have included:
- Delivering over 48,000 new gas connections plus associated new central heating systems in partnership with Cadent, predecessor National Grid Gas and social housing providers
- Supporting a further 42,000 households through the National Grid established Warm Homes Fund which enables local authorities and housing associations to apply for funding to address the challenges of fuel poverty
- Over 500 community heating schemes delivered or underway
- Providing £200m in lifetime energy cost savings for households
Mike Foster, Chair of AWS, said: To have to live without the basic human right of a warm, dry home can have such a debilitating impact on every aspect of life and is a terrible and unacceptable injustice in modern society.”
He added: “Connecting people to the gas grid is one of the most cost-effective ways of dealing with fuel poverty. It offers cheaper bills and ticks a lot of boxes in terms of quality of life, health and savings to society as a whole.
“We’ve seen the tremendous benefits that it can have on their wider quality of life and opportunities - not only in terms of their physical health and mental health, but in terms of their ability to pursue their goals and dreams too.”
Jeremy Nesbitt, Managing Director of AWS, said: “With around four million households still struggling with unaffordable and inadequate home heating, the UK has a sizeable way to go in its ambition to rid this country of fuel poverty and we have to be realistic about the scale of the challenge before us.
“I have seen the truly terrible conditions that some families are living in and I know the tangible difference our work makes. So, I am extremely ambitious for the second decade of Affordable Warmth Solutions. Ideally, I want us to make ourselves redundant.”
He added: “We need support from the government and the industry regulator to create a regulatory environment that enables us to think more holistically and work more creatively, in the future, to tackle the problem - designing solutions from a wide range of heating options according to need.”
Richard Court, Director of Regulatory Strategy for Cadent has been involved with AWS, from the outset and AWS remain Cadent’s principle delivery partner for its fuel poor programme.
Mr Court said: “A warm home is something you take for granted, if you’ve got one.
Having been out on site, many times, I am always struck by the difference AWS makes to the communities and people that it supports.”
“Going forward, we have to leverage funding and make it work harder, to
create more powerful solutions to fuel poverty - otherwise we will miss out on the really big opportunities to make a difference. We need to help and support government to get the policy framework right and identify funding models that work well for people.
He added “For me, the key to the next decade is to go beyond looking at fuel poverty on a scheme-by-scheme basis and, instead, align our resources with those of other partners bringing together different types of grants and funding opportunities to create the maximum possible impact.”
For a detailed look at a decade of AWS visit https://cadentgas.com/services/household-customer/free-or-discounted-connections
For more information on AWS and the Warm Homes Fund visit: www.affordablewarmthsolutions.org.uk
or call 0121 592 0181.
A new scheme Connected for Warmth has also been launched for more information and to apply visit www.connectedforwarmth.org.uk
or call 0800 029 4547.
To watch a short film about a Cadent and AWS initiative in Dagenham last year go to https://vimeo.com/285272536/b636cf1159