Stockport-based power network operator, Electricity North West, has partnered with Citizens Advice to provide support for those affected by fuel poverty this Winter.
The £500,000 partnership will start immediately to support the region’s communities for the next two years in the aftermath of the coronavirus pandemic. Electricity North West’s ‘Be Winter Ready’ campaign aims to help thousands of people with free energy efficiency advice and support in managing fuel bills.
The funding for Citizens Advice will support seven new members of staff, including five energy champions to work proactively with customers, as well as responding to referrals from the charity’s network.
Jo Crinson, Partnership Manager at Electricity North West, said:
Winter can be a difficult time, and this one will be more challenging than usual due to the impacts of Covid, and we want to help those who may find it more difficult than others, or just need additional support.
“The service that our key workers provide in operating the network only makes up a small proportion of overall energy bills, but nonetheless we want to make sure we look after our communities this winter, and this partnership will help us do that.”
The Stockport-based power network operator found this year that 13% of households in the region are fuel poor, meaning their energy bills are higher than they can afford. Manchester and Pendle in Lancashire have the highest rates of fuel poverty, at 17.9% and 18.1% respectively.
Skilled staff from Citizens Advice will work with Electricity North West to promote the services on offer while also providing additional support.
Andy Brown, Chief Officer at Citizens Advice Manchester said:
Citizens Advice Manchester are excited to be working with Electricity North West to ensure that customers who need extra help have access to the joined-up support and the advice that they need.
“As the cold weather moves in, we often see an increase in people coming to us for support with staying connected and keeping up with their energy costs; with the coronavirus pandemic forcing people to stay inside more, this support has never been more needed.
“We know that cold homes can have a significant impact on people’s physical and mental wellbeing, and thanks to Electricity North West’s support, thousands more people will be able to stay warm and well throughout this difficult winter and beyond.”