More than 3,300 households living in fuel poverty in Liverpool have benefited from a partnership between energy giant Scottish Power and Mayor Joe Anderson’s Hope Fund.
The ScottishPower Energy People Trust, an independent charity which provides funding to registered charities to help vulnerable and disadvantaged people out of fuel poverty, awarded a £50,000 grant to Mayor Joe Anderson’s Hope Fund last October.
Around 14 per cent of households in the city are living in fuel poverty, which equates to around 30,000 homes – the worst rate in the country.
It is estimated poor housing conditions cause up to 500 deaths and 5,000 illnesses requiring medical attention each year.
Over the last 12 months, trained energy advisors from the city council’s Healthy Homes team have been working with local families to help them reduce energy costs. This includes switching to cheaper tariffs, checking they are claiming all the benefits they are entitled to and improving energy efficiency.
The grant provided by the Trust was used to bring in additional funds and in total it helped assist 3,312 households. This includes:
• £230,000 worth of energy efficiency improvements including repairs to boilers and radiators, gas safety checks, whole house draught-proofing and the installation of LED light bulbs
• £33,060 of fuel debt assistance to help people pay gas and electricity bills
• Making sure households were claiming all the benefits they were entitled to worth £213,000 for 122 households – equivalent to £1,700 each
Mayor Joe Anderson said: “The funding from the ScottishPower Energy People’s Trust has made a huge difference – we have turned the £50k into almost half a million pounds worth of improvements for local households.
“Tackling poverty is a priority for the city because there are far too many people struggling to make ends meet due to the impact of austerity.
“We have also set up our own electricity and gas supplier, The Leccy, to offer competitive tariffs and have also established the Mayoral Hardship totaling £2 million over the next three years to alleviate growing pressures on low income households.”
The team also attended 57 community events and visited GP surgeries to raise awareness of fuel poverty. A total of 39 frontline staff have also been trained in giving energy efficiency advice.
The city’s Healthy Homes programme is open to any resident in the city – regardless of whether they own or rent a property – who has difficulty paying their gas or electricity bills, or struggles to heat up their home.
A team of qualified energy awareness officers are on hand to:
• Give advice on understanding bills and using less energy
• The installation of LED lighting
• Draught-proof a property
• Help with minor window casement repair
• Organise repair or replacement of a boiler
• Organise to replace radiators
• Look at how residents can switch to a cheaper energy provider
• Check to see residents are receiving all the benefits they are entitled to
• Install full central heating systems for those properties without (subject to eligibility)
The service is free and can be accessed by calling 0800 012 1754 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Any work carried out following advice from the team can potentially be covered by grants of up to £500 per property.
Tenants in private rented properties should approach their landlord first; if you are on certain qualifying benefits your landlord may qualify for Energy Company Obligation (ECO) support towards the replacement of the boiler and insulation.