A new service is being launched by UK Power Networks to support customers struggling to pay their bills.
The service, called UK Power Networks Energy Advice Line, is being run in partnership with AgilityEco, a leading fuel poverty services provider, to provide additional help to customers living in vulnerable circumstances.
The Energy Advice Line will assess customers’ individual circumstances and provide practical advice as well as help them access targeted support. Eligible customers will receive personalised guidance and one-to-one support to tackle financial and energy matters at the root cause of fuel poverty. Support includes; fuel poverty advice, income maximisation guidance and ensuring customers are on the best energy tariff as well as helping them apply for the Warm Home Discount and available grants.
In London, the South East and East of England alone there are almost one million households in or at risk of entering fuel poverty. This number is only set to rise as a result of the pandemic. Households need support now more than ever and UK Power Networks’ Energy Advice Line comes at a crucial time. The service is expected to improve the health, wellbeing and financial circumstances of those who find themselves in challenging situations.
UK Power Networks’ customer service staff will identify households eligible for the service. They will then refer the customer to the Energy Advice Line where experts will provide practical advice and tailored support on energy efficiency, utility bills and household finances.
This partnership builds upon the work of the fuel poverty programme which has seen UK Power Networks work with 32 fuel poverty partners on over 39 projects in 2020 to deliver in-depth personalised support to around 14,000 households, saving them £2.7 million. The company doesn’t set energy bills but runs the substations and cabling infrastructure which deliver electricity to local homes and businesses.
Ian Cameron, head of customer services and innovation at UK Power Networks, said: “Electricity is a service essential for life. Our customers rely on it, and some lives depend on it. At UK Power Networks, we have a social responsibility to our customers. After what has been another tough year for many, as we enter the colder months there has never been a more important moment to stand up and take action to support those who are in or at risk of entering fuel poverty. This partnership will ensure that our customers in most need can receive timely in-depth support if they are struggling to pay their energy bills.”
Caroline Joseph, community programmes director at AgilityEco, said: “We are delighted to work in partnership with UK Power Networks to deliver its new advice line. Together with Auriga Services, our experienced team of in-house energy advisors will be delivering a vital energy support helpline, servicing households across the South East of England, offering free telephone-based support to reduce bills, stay warm and signposting households to other local support services they might not be aware of.
“This is the first time we’ve worked with a Distribution Network Operator to help roll out an energy advice service. UK Power Networks is dedicated to providing extra support to the households it serves.”