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Brent families set to receive Covid-19 support to escape fuel poverty

Vulnerable tenants in the private rented sector are set to be fast-tracked out of fuel poverty by a campaigning group linking up with an electricity firm.

From News & press - 19 March 2021 12:00 AM

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Advice for Renters, an equality campaigning company, will use a £20,000 grant from UK Power Networks, to raise awareness among vulnerable renters of the law governing energy efficiency in their homes and helping them improve the energy efficiency of their homes through legal advice, action and home visits.

Citizens Advice estimates 600,000 people in the UK have been plunged into fuel poverty during the coronavirus lockdowns. As a result, helping consumers cut their energy costs is more important than ever.

The scheme will specifically focus on more than 3,000 homes in the Brent area that have a poor energy rating, as well as vulnerable renters in BAME groups and recently-arrived refugees. 

Jacky Peacock, executive director at Advice for Renters, said: “This is a great opportunity for us to target the most vulnerable renters living in cold homes. The support we can offer combines our legal team, who instruct landlords about their legal duty to provide adequate and affordable heating; our energy adviser who helps tenants to reduce their bills with energy saving tips; our money advice team and our mentoring service. We really appreciate the grant from UK Power Networks which has helped us to get this project off the ground.”

In the fourth round of funding from UK Power Networks’ Power Partners scheme, nine not-for-profit organisations and community groups have secured a total of around £180,000, to help combat the growing issue of fuel poverty during the pandemic. The aim is to support community services to reach more people with help including energy efficiency advice, tariff switching and support for frontline charity workers.

Giulia Privitera, social sustainability strategy and programme manager for UK Power Networks, said: “Our fuel poverty strategy is built around the evolving needs of our customers and relies on creating strong partnerships with local organisations like Advice for Renters who deliver energy advice and support out in the communities where it is needed the most. 

“Since 2019 our Power Partners projects have explored new ways to tackle fuel poverty and have already made a real impact for people who struggle to pay their energy bills. The growing financial difficulties caused by an unprecedented pandemic means that providing accessible and timely support in helping energy consumers cut their costs is more important than ever.

“For this reason, we decided to increase the funding granted for the fourth round of Power Partners to be able to support more individuals or communities who are experiencing emerging vulnerabilities or entering into fuel poverty as a result of the pandemic. Year on year, through our Power Partners and other energy saving initiatives, UK Power Networks continues to deliver tailored support for hard to reach communities that otherwise could have been left behind.”

The fund, administered in partnership with leading energy justice charity the Centre for Sustainable Energy, is open to not-for-profit organisations and community organisations. For more details email powerpartners@cse.org.uk or call 0117 934 1400.

UK Power Networks also runs a Priority Service Register which people living in vulnerable circumstances can sign up for, to get free extra help if a power cut ever happens. To apply visit www.ukpowernetworks.co.uk/priority, ring 0800 169 9970, or email psr@ukpowernetworks.co.uk