Saturday, 25 May 2024
Saturday, 25 May 2024

Major new fuel poverty initiative launching ahead of winter to help families save thousands

Ahead of winter 2023 and concerns that the ongoing cost-of-living crisis will continue to impact household bills, Cadent, the UK’s largest gas network with over 11 million customers, has announced a new pilot scheme that aims to directly alleviate fuel poverty through bespoke personal support.

For the first time, in a major new partnership, utility providers, charities and technology companies will collaborate to deliver the ‘Warm Homes Network’. Organisations including National Grid, Northern Gas Networks, Google Cloud, National Energy Action, Groundwork UK, YES Energy Solutions, Pennysmart, the Cadent Foundation and Birmingham City Council, are signed up to collectively support consumers, with more expected to join the programme as it rolls out.

Launching as a pilot in Birmingham this month, the first phase will test the network by supporting up to 200 customers living in the most vulnerable situations. Created to be a community of trusted partners, offering customers a single source of support to navigate the energy crisis, the Warm Homes Network expects to save households an average of over £3,000 each, significantly more than similar schemes can deliver through a single interaction. It’s estimated that through the initial Birmingham pilot alone, consumers will see benefits totalling more than £580k. Having a one-stop-shop for vital guidance, including energy efficiency, benefits entitlement and debt advice, will remove complexity for consumers, as well as maximising the amount families can save.

Edward Allard, Social Programmes Manager at Cadent, said:

“We know that funding to support customers living in the most vulnerable situations exists and that there are many successful projects benefitting communities right now. However, we also know that there might be several and quite significant project overlaps, resulting in time and budgets not always being maximised to offer the most support to households. This is why the Warm Homes Network has been established.

“Through collaboration, it creates a powerful platform for some of the UK’s leading utility, charity and technology brands to maximise their support for families who really need it. We are incredibly proud to be leading this initiative and our initial forecasts predict that the model will quickly and significantly have a positive impact for families when they need help the most. I’m excited to see the programme in operation, so we can understand what is required to successfully roll it out across Great Britain, potentially reaching and supporting thousands of families.”

Major new fuel poverty initiative launching ahead of winter to help families save thousands
Image courtesy of Groundwork UK: one of its Green Doctors and a beneficiary.

Neil Osborne, Chief Energy Evangelist at Google Cloud, added:

“Our role has been to develop a tool alongside specialists from Egnida to efficiently target those customers who would benefit most from a referral to the Warm Homes Network. It has been a fantastic experience having the opportunity to meet and work with new partners on this project. We are looking forward to seeing how the new collaborative delivery model encourages the scaling of this approach to help vulnerable customers right across the UK.”

Adam Scorer, CEO at National Energy Action, said:

“With another tough autumn and winter ahead, it’s never been more important to connect people to support and advice that could keep them warm and safe in their homes. National Energy Action welcomes Cadent’s new approach and we are looking forward to working with Birmingham City Council and other organisations who can help residents access national or local energy assistance and income maximisation services. Throughout the pilot, we hope to learn valuable lessons in how best to connect the support our different organisations can offer. If successful, we hope to roll out this joined-up collaboration across other communities in the Midlands and beyond.”

Current Warm Homes Network Partners include:

  • Cadent
  • National Grid
  • Northern Gas Networks
  • Google Cloud
  • National Energy Action
  • Groundwork UK
  • YES Energy Solutions
  • Pennysmart
  • The Cadent Foundation
  • Birmingham City Council

To learn more about the Warm Homes Network, or to register interest in funding or delivering parts of the project as it scales, please visit https://cadentgas.com/help-advice/warm-home-network-(1)  or contact Edward Allard at: edward.allard@cadentgas.com

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