Energy Boost For Families

Govan families receive £350k to deal with energy bills

Left to right: Energy advisors Sharon De Meza-Dickson (Linthouse), Diane Miles (Govan) and Patricia Coulter (Elderpark)

Govan households have been given financial aid to deal with staggering energy costs to the tune of £350,000 over the past 18 months.

The community’s three housing associations – Linthouse, Govan and Elderpark – joined forces to launch the Govan Energy Advice Project.

Now the initiative has revealed that it has been able to obtain £350,214 for those facing rocketing fuel bills, with a total of 1722 people having received assistance by the associations’ three appointed energy advisors and this figure is expected to climb rapidly in the coming months.

The £350k figure – otherwise known as “financial gain” – consists of helping to get energy debt written off, issuing top-up fuel vouchers, switching tenants to lower tariffs, getting central heating installed free, and offering advice on energy efficiency.

The initial funding and appointment of the three energy advisors to operate the project was secured from the Energy Redress Fund set up by energy regulator Ofgem.

Never has it been more needed say the associations and the money is considered a lifeline to many individuals and families who face a struggle paying winter fuel bills at the worst possible time of the year.  Since the initiative was launched early last year take up has been very strong. The three housing associations identify from their tenant lists individuals and families who might be considered in fuel poverty and are contacting them.

Meanwhile, the three associations are also looking at other ways to secure other methods of funding to continuing offering help with fuel costs as the winter fuel crisis bites. Between them the three housing associations own and manage 4060 homes and a high proportion of local residents are considered to be in fuel poverty.

The definition of fuel poverty in Scotland is if a household spends more than 10% of its income on fuel costs. Diane Miles one of the three Energy Advisors said: “We recognise the very real difficulties many of our customers are facing in a time of immense challenge in paying energy bills. We are working hard to tackle fuel poverty and never has there been a more important time
for this vital work.
“The three housing associations acknowledge the important role the Scottish Federation of Housing Associations has also played in the administration of the Social Housing Fuel Support Fund which comes from the Scottish Government. Without the support of both, the initiative would not be able to continue. Two weeks ago the UK Government announced that the planned two year support scheme known as the Energy Price Guarantee whereby bills would – on average – be capped at £2500 would end after just six months next April. But it indicated those in greatest need would still receive support. While the scheme limits how much energy providers can charge what people will pay depends on their actual usage.

Meanwhile, any further developments relating to energy relief are awaited in the forthcoming “Hallowe’en Budget” currently scheduled on Monday of next week.