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© British Gas Trading Limited 2011 British Gas: Tackling Fuel Poverty in the North East Christine Tate Head of Corporate Responsibility Graeme Stephenson Energy Solutions Managers Date: Friday 27 January
© British Gas Trading Limited 2011 Vision: We are committed to making a positive impact on our customers’ quality of life and to diminishing fuel poverty within the communities we operate. Belief: All UK citizens, irrespective of circumstance should have access to safe, clean, and affordable warmth and light. British Gas is committed to addressing Fuel Poverty
© British Gas Trading Limited 2011 Agenda Background to British Gas’s Support Programmes Warm Home Discount Energy Efficiency and Partnership Working British Gas Energy Trust British Gas in the North East
© British Gas Trading Limited 2011 Slide 4 Offering a Warmer Winter package Our Warmer Winter campaign included: A commitment to hold prices down over the winter period Contacting customers to help them get the best deal Broadest eligibility criteria for the Warm Home Discount Scheme Priority service for vulnerable customers with boiler breakdowns Flexible payment options Hosted Parliamentary ‘Preparing for Winter’ day: offering advice to MP’s on what they can do to support their constituents in winter Which? / No.10 Energy Summit – Supporting ‘Switch, Save and Insulate’ National Campaign
© British Gas Trading Limited 2011 During 2010 we helped over 1.6m vulnerable and low income customers Priority Register to our customers that are over 60, young families experiencing fuel poverty, disabled or living with long term illness Secure Password Process Meter Moves Free Gas Safety Checks Benefit Entitlement Checks As well as face-to-face support and training of community groups Telephone:
© British Gas Trading Limited 2011 We also have support for Agencies and Community Advisers Help lines: - General, Debt, Specialist Cases Partnership with NEA: - Delivering Fuel Poverty and Energy Efficiency Training - Mentoring Network Support Scheme Commission Based Scheme - for Energy Efficiency Referrals
© British Gas Trading Limited 2011 Slide 7 The Warm Home Discount scheme came into force in April 2011 & is made up of 4 elements Core Group Pension Credit Customers Legacy Group Broader Group Industry Initiatives Pension Credit Customers identified through data sharing Largest area of spend over the 4 years £120 - £140 by 2014 rebate credited to customers elec bill Providing a smooth transition from the Voluntary Scheme The amount of spending will decrease over the scheme Suppliers have some discretion over who is included To be paid same rebate as the Core group Suppliers to be audited by Ofgem on their processes Suppliers will be able to provide some non-financial benefits to vulnerable households, eg Trust Funds, HHH Warm Home Discount
© British Gas Trading Limited 2011 Slide 8 Energy Suppliers Social Spend will increase from £150m (2009/10) to £310m by 2014/15 & will help 2m households Warm Home Discount
© British Gas Trading Limited 2011 Broader Group Customers with vulnerability and in receipt of specific benefits / living in fuel poverty Over 65k customers will receive £120 Winter Rebate 330k Essentials social discounted tariff custs will be assessed for WHD this year Broader Group Customers with vulnerability and in receipt of specific benefits / living in fuel poverty Over 65k customers will receive £120 Winter Rebate 330k Essentials social discounted tariff custs will be assessed for WHD this year Core Group All customers that receive Pension Credit Guarantee Credit /200k households to benefit DWP data share Customers automatically receive £120 discount Core Group All customers that receive Pension Credit Guarantee Credit /200k households to benefit DWP data share Customers automatically receive £120 discount British Gas has the broadest WHD eligibility criteria of the ‘Big 6’ energy suppliers British Gas is committed to ensuring the Warm Homes Discount Scheme benefits our customers most in need Warm Home Discount
© British Gas Trading Limited 2011 Slide 10 Suppliers’ Energy Efficiency obligations have increasingly had a fuel poverty focus The CERT obligation requires us to direct 40% of our savings at a Priority Group (benefits and Over 70’s) The CERT Extension introduced a Super Priority Group (SPG) of the most vulnerable households to direct 15% of the obligation towards The CESP obligation is directed to those households living in the most deprived areas The ECO Obligation will also be partly directed towards the fuel poor The Affordable Warmth target will be aimed at the SPG group, but will exclude Social Housing The Carbon Saving target will specify a minimum proportion of carbon savings to be achieved in the SPG group We support a fuel poor focus to these obligations, but are finding it harder to identify target households, especially for the CERT SPG target More help is required to identify these households, preferably through data sharing We are currently working with the other Suppliers and Government to write to households in receipt of benefit to promote free insulation We are also targeting our WHD customers with an insulation offer We are lobbing for health data sharing and are already working with the North East Health Authority, piloting the sharing of data through Home Health Visitors. British Gas
© British Gas Trading Limited 2011 Slide 11 Partnership working to reach out to those needing home improvement Partnered with RNIB, Carers UK, Age U, Shelter and Mears group to provide referrals for vulnerable customers eligible for free Loft and Cavity Wall insulation offer Commission offered per survey, and per insulation installation completed
© British Gas Trading Limited 2011 British Gas Energy Trust In January 2011, we announced a £20 million investment in the British Gas Energy Trust. Grants are available to help individuals and families in to meet arrears of energy charges and other household bills and costs. The Trust also funds voluntary organisations to provide money and debt advice services. For more information on how to apply for a grant from the British Gas Energy Trust, visit: or In the North-East* area, the Trust: Received 741 applications Made 551 grants with a total value of £314,450 * Postcodes DH; DL; NE; SR; TS;
© British Gas Trading Limited 2011 Help available. Managed and administered by Charis – independent assessment, fair and equitable based on assessment of needs British Gas Energy Trust (charitable)
© British Gas Trading Limited 2011 British Gas donated £20 million into the Trust Fund 2011/12 Individuals and Families Grant Programme. Utility Debt awards Further Assistance for essential household needs. Grants to Organisations. Projects in community to provide debt advice, education and support eg energy efficiency advice and grant aid.
© British Gas Trading Limited 2011 Further Assistance Awards Wide range of help including: Household Items Bankruptcy Deposits Telephone/Utility Arrears or other key debts Funeral Expenses (top up) Boilers & heating repair/replacement In exceptional cases Rent/Council Tax Arrears
© British Gas Trading Limited 2011 Applications Applications can be completed in hardcopy or online by: An individual. A friend or relative. A utility company field worker. An organisation/agency acting on their behalf. A money advice worker. BUT Account holder must sign (or tick online declaration) Recent documentary evidence must be supplied
© British Gas Trading Limited 2011 Applications Online or application form - attaching scanned supporting evidence. Hard copy - application forms can be - downloaded from the Trusts’ websites - requested via our telephone request line. Freepost return with supporting documents Reapplications Successful applicants can reapply after a 2 year waiting period Unsuccessful applicants can reapply after a 6 month waiting period.
© British Gas Trading Limited 2011 Application submissions – What the Assessor is looking for: Financial stability going forward, with recent (>3mths) documentary evidence. A balancing and realistic weekly budget. A thorough explanation of how the arrears have arisen. Any vulnerability, need, hardship or distress. If other criteria are not met, could we make a quality of life award in exceptional circumstances only?
© British Gas Trading Limited 2011 The Impact of the Trust To Consumer: support for those who ‘can’t pay’- the vulnerable/needy to become financially empowered, better able to access range of help reduce stress, ease access, maximise help. To British Gas: identify those in need, provide cost effective, targeted support. Overall: financial sustainability via debt relief, payment formats, appropriate payments, water/energy efficiency. Outcome..... Delivers improved wellbeing, positive customer experience
© British Gas Trading Limited 2011 Contact details British & Scottish Gas Energy Trust: Application form request line: Fax:
© British Gas Trading Limited 2011 British Gas National ‘Centre of Excellence’ Debt Support Programmes, launched July 2011 Glasgow Preston Bromley Manchester Coventry Stockton-on-Tees Nottingham Bradford Canning Town Cardiff (x 2) Bristol Liverpool St Helen’s 14 organisations awarded to, in areas of high fuel debt across UK Funding up to 2 specialist fuel debt Advisers NEA Training to City & Guilds in energy awareness and fuel debt advice provided Partnership working: strong local referral networks Holistic approach – fuel debt, energy efficiency tariffs, and range of BGET support eg boiler replacement, signposting. Promotional material, shared learning, support and resources across all funded agencies – online forums, regular training, feedback on outputs, well resourced.
© British Gas Trading Limited 2011 Working with many Housing Providers and Partners to tackle Fuel Poverty in the NE Strategic Partnership with Durham County Council Countywide insulation Scheme at highly competitive prices - PGFlex external insulation funding Free £3.5m CESP scheme in the most deprived area of Co Durham Chosen utility partner in DECC funded NEA led project for Green Deal ‘Go Early’ pilot for Co Durham for low income households Customer Led Network Revolution – maximising DECC grant-funded Heat Pump installs into homes of vulnerable tenants currently on expensive oil or electric heating. Currently assessing the feasibility of several biomass projects for electrically heated high rise social housing across the North East Projects specific to NE
© British Gas Trading Limited 2011 We are taking a responsible approach to developing skills and jobs for the region Dale and Valley Homes – providing free 6176 training for local unemployed energy champions and further free energy efficiency for training locally based community tenants Working with Mears in ‘Your Homes’ Newcastle and ‘Livin Homes’ to maximise CESP and CERT funding whilst training employees from Mears and RSL to improve tenant behaviour and reduce Fuel Poverty. We are also working with Tyneside Health Visitors, building fuel poverty assessments via SAP into Child Health Assessments as part of the Govt led Health Visitor Early Implementation Plan Projects specific to NE
© British Gas Trading Limited 2011 Thank you for your time Q&A
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Area Based Energy Efficiency Schemes in Scotland Andrew Faulk Consumer Focus Scotland.
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