Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Income Maximisation Into Households At Risk Of Fuel Poverty

I have recently been lucky enough to be responsible for delivering one of the largest private sector energy efficiency schemes in England. The scheme provided assistance to over 5000 homes in some of the most deprived wards in England in just 9 months.

Part of the scheme included a Benefits Entitlement Check managed by Eaga Partnership - this service also helped to increase the take up of previously unidentified welfare benefits into homes and invoked a more unified and locally supported approach to support this operation.

Its important to note that whilst home energy bills increase more customers are at risk of falling into fuel poverty and those who may be particularly vulnerable include householders who are of senior years. Worryingly many people who are now aged 60+ and who have paid their dues to society throughout their working life could be missing out on such opportunities. Its interesting to consider the possible barriers that prevent people from siezing the chance to increase their household incomes whilst also having a "passport" through to other tangible benefits like the Governments Warm Front scheme and utility grants and discounted measures.

This is a major challenge especially when there are so many grants for energy efficiency that can help to make peoples' homes more affordable to heat, help to reduce home fuel bills and reduce the threat of winter mortality due to inadequate heating and poor insulation.

I welcome your comments, experiences and ideas on how we can work to overcome such barriers and look at improving the way in which the whole subject of energy efficiency can be more closely linked in peoples' minds with savings in the home and ways to maximise money going into the homes of people most at risk ? Perhaps one way is to suggest that older people could interpret these grants as a "savings pot" - they have paid into the system and now its their turn to claim some of that hard earned money back?

From Your Friend The Energy Angel


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