To mark Fuel Poverty Awareness Day, Riverside’s Michael Anderson talks about how we help customers affected by fuel poverty. National Energy Action (NEA) estimate that around four million UK households are in fuel poverty and are unable to afford to live in a warm home. With winter around the corner, Riverside want to ensure that our customers are able to afford to keep themselves warm and if they’re struggling to pay their bills we can help.
On Fuel Poverty Awareness Day I want to highlight the important work we do for our customers who are in fuel poverty.
Our dedicated team of expert affordable warmth officers can help if your gas or electricity has been cut off, if you’re in debt with utility companies, struggling to use the heating system efficiently or if your health has worsened because you are not able to heat your home properly.
Every day I see the positive impact that our affordable warmth service has on people’s lives.
Only recently we helped one of our customers who was charged £399 by the utility company because they thought that they had tampered with the meter, and this was added to the pre-payment meter. We worked with the customer to understand what had happened and produced evidence to show that the meter had not been tampered with. The utility company deleted the debt from the meter and as you can imagine, the customer was immensely thankful for having the burden of debt lifted.
We also assisted a mother who had a number of health problems and was struggling to manage her utility debt. Her water bill was high and her utility debt was nearly £1,000. We carried out an assessment in her home and identified that the customer was not using the heating controls efficiently, so showed her the most efficient way to make savings on her gas and water bill. We also helped her switch to a lower tariff and get access to a grant of £675 which helped clear the debt.
It is nice when customers talk about how our services have helped them, for instance, June Ellwood was grateful when we helped her save over £900 by applying for Warm Home Discount, switch to a cheaper tariff and gave her advice on small changes to her home.
These are just a few examples of how we have helped our customers. Last year we helped over 500 of our customers which saved them over £219K. This meant that they were able to keep their homes warm and have more money to live on.
Our message to customers is ‘Please do not suffer in silence, we can help you’.
Riverside customers can be referred to our service through their local housing officer or calling our customer service centre on 0345 111 0000. You can also find out more here and the service is free and confidential.