Energy for frontline workers

How to help your clients if they are in fuel poverty

On this page you will find information and resources to help you support your clients to reduce the costs of their gas and electricity bills.

Spotting the signs of fuel poverty and cold homes

A fuel poor household is a low income household that can’t afford to keep its home warm and meet its other energy needs. England calculates fuel poverty using the Low Income Low Energy Efficiency definition, where a household has a low income and an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) below Band C.

When talking to clients about their homes, listen out for phrases that suggest they are living in cold homes or in fuel poverty

  • my house is cold and draughty
  • my fuel bills are too high
  • I owe money to my energy company
  • I have a problem with condensation and/or mould
  • I run out of credit on my key/card meter regularly

If you are visiting clients in their home, look out for signs such as

  • no central heating
  • mould on the walls
  • blocked air vents
  • peeling wallpaper
  • dust on radiators or heating elements

There are 3 main drivers of fuel poverty, low income, high fuel costs and low energy efficiency of the home. Combating these drivers will help people feel more in control of their energy bills and feel more comfortable in the home.

Maximising Income

  1. Carry out a benefit check
  2. Check their eligibility for grants and support including
    • Warm Home Discount
    • Priority Services Register
    • Grants to clear debts
    • Cold Weather Payment
    • Winter Fuel Allowance

Decrease cost of fuel

  1. Check they are on the best deal and perhaps switch supplier or tariff
  2. Check they are paying in the best way for them, eg direct debit is significantly cheaper than paying each quarter on the bill
  3. If they are on a prepayment (key/PAYG) meter, could they move to a credit meter?

Improve the energy efficiency of the home

  1. Small behavioural changes can make a big difference
  2. Low cost energy efficiency measures can save £100s each year
  3. Grants are available to make major changes to the home including
    • Energy Company Obligation
    • Green Homes Grant (closed to new applications as of 1/4/2021)
    • Home Upgrade Grant (date to be confirmed)

We have produced a set of videos to explain how to reduce energy use in the home while increasing comfort.

We offer full energy advice to consumers, and you can refer your clients to us directly by email to energy@citizensadvicereading.org. If you would like us to brief your teams on what energy advice can look like, we are happy to attend virtual team meetings and deliver a short presentation.

We also offer FREE comprehensive training programmes to frontline workers. These are offered in two ways

  1. use our online training platform to complete the course in your own time
  2. attend a group online training event which could be a mixture of organisations or for your team, depending on numbers.

Both options will cover the full range of topics, take about 3 hours, and provide you with all the skills you need to provide simple energy advice to your own clients.

For more information please contact us at energy@citizensadvicereading.org

 

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