£800,000 to support the most vulnerable during Covid-19

29/04/2020

Thousands of people currently struggling to pay energy bills while at home and out of work, are set to benefit after a community scheme was today re-purposed to help those most affected by Covid-19.

Community organisations and charities which help households in *fuel poverty, can now apply for a share in a £300,000 fuel poverty innovation scheme by UK Power Networks. The news comes just days after the company also led a collaboration of eight utilities to donate £500,000 to 21 Community Foundations which help local good causes.

Through the newly-repurposed £300,000 Power Partners scheme, support is now available to organisations who have found new ways to help many people facing fuel poverty particularly during the current travel restrictions.

Kerry Potter consumer vulnerability manager for UK Power Networks, which delivers electricity to 8.3 million homes and businesses, said: “We are aiming to help the people who are most affected by the social or financial impact of Covid-19.

“We’re always keen to find innovative ways to adapt our community support, and leading the collaboration to give £500,000 to Community Foundations was an example of regional utilities working together for local communities, through local partnerships. Power Partners is also about developing partnerships which deliver real help locally.

“In the current climate of self-isolation more people will be struggling with their bills and unable to go to 'safe' community places to get advice and support. Through Power Partners we can work with local charities and organisations who have found effective ways to help people in vulnerable circumstances both during the lockdown and afterwards, and make a real difference.”

When Power Partners first launched last year it was designed to help alleviate fuel poverty and also fund energy efficiency improvements for community buildings. The scheme benefited 24 organisations including:

  • The charity deafPLUS trained advisors to help deaf clients with fuel debt to maximise their income and to budget.  The funding also meant they could publish online advice and make a series of British Sign Language (BSL) videos about how to get help with fuel debts
  • Community energy cooperative Energise Sussex Coast is using an electric van funded by Power Partners to distribute food supplies to people who are ill and self-isolating using an electric van funded by Power Partners. During social isolation the team are also delivering support to children who would usually get free school meals.

Power Partners is administered in partnership with leading energy justice charity the Centre for Sustainable Energy.  Applications are now open to charities and community organisations across London, the East and South East until midnight on May 31. For more information and application forms see https://www.cse.org.uk/projects/view/1356

Ends

Picture caption: Applications are open for a new round of Power Partners, a community funding scheme helping alleviate fuel poverty, during coronavirus. The charity deafPLUS (pictured) was one of 24 recipients last year.

For further information please contact UK Power Networks press office on 0330 159 1712.

Notes to editors:

*Fuel poverty in England is measured using the Low Income High Costs (LIHC) indicator. Under the LIHC indicator, a household is considered to be fuel poor if:

  • they have required fuel costs that are above average
  • were they to spend that amount, they would be left below the official poverty line

Source: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/fuel-poverty-statistics

UK Power Networks is the country’s biggest electricity distributor, making sure the lights stay on for more than eight million homes and businesses across London, the South East and the East of England.

Network operators aren’t the same as energy suppliers; network operators manage local power lines and substations, while energy suppliers sell the electricity that runs through the power lines.

UK Power Networks continues to be listed in the Sunday Times’ Top 25 Best Big Companies to Work For, and made industry history by becoming first company to win Utility of the Year two years running (2015 and 2016, also 2012).

The company invests more than £600 million in its electricity networks every year, offers extra help to vulnerable customers at times of need, and is undertaking trials to ensure that electricity networks support the transition to a low carbon future. It also moves cables and connects new electricity supplies. If you have a power cut ring 105, see www.ukpowernetworks.co.uk or tweet us @UKPowerNetworks