Bristol Energy has donated £12,500 from its Fuel Good Fund to a Bristol charity project, supporting people who are struggling to top up their energy Pre-payment Meter (PPM) due to the impact of Covid-19.
On a mission to tackle fuel poverty and help vulnerable people amid the Coronavirus outbreak, Bristol Energy is continuing its work with charity the Centre for Sustainable Energy (CSE) to support its WHAM (Warmer Homes Advice & Money) project.
Our donation to WHAM was raised through the Bristol Energy Fuel Good Fund, set up in 2016 to help households who are living in fuel poverty. Money is raised when customers switch to a Bristol Energy tariff using a special referral code.
The donation to the WHAM project will provide immediate support to local households who are particularly vulnerable to fuel poverty during the Covid-19 restrictions. Struggling households will be able to access emergency PPM top ups and oil-filled electric radiators if their home has no heating, as well as in-depth advice related to their energy supply, repairs to their home, or even getting food or medicines to their home.
Bristol Energy’s donation allows a WHAM caseworker to dedicate two days per week to delivering advice and support over the phone to vulnerable households with PPMs. The experienced caseworkers are trained to provide advice on what the household’s energy company is doing to support customers, act on their behalf where appropriate, and provide reassurance that they’ll continue to have heating, hot water and electricity during the isolation period.
Allan Booth, Managing Director at Bristol Energy, said: “These are unprecedented and challenging times for all of us, but the impact of Coronavirus will be particularly difficult for vulnerable households; those who are ill, must self-isolate, or those who have lost a significant amount of income as a result of government restrictions.
“Usually April marks the end of the heating season; a time for households to save on their energy bills. But this year, energy consumption is likely to rise despite the improving weather, with so many people staying at home. For those already struggling to pay their energy bills - having to make the decision to ‘heat or eat’ – extra support is vital. In fact, money advice charity Talking Money – who are part of the WHAM project - expects to see a surge in the number of people needing help due to the Coronavirus outbreak.
“Bristol Energy’s long-standing close relationship with the CSE means we’re able to mobilise this support quickly and efficiently to start helping people straightaway. We encourage more businesses in Bristol to support struggling households and do their bit during this difficult time.”
Bristol Energy is actively referring customers to WHAM project caseworkers and other services, such as emergency repairs, food, medicine and debt, who can provide support in addition to the extra measures the company’s already put in place to help customers (including its freephone energy advice line). WHAM advisors are working closely with Bristol North food bank, WE Care (for home repairs), Talking Money (for debt advice), as well as other members of ACFA (the network of advice centres in the West of England).
Lisa Evans, Project Manager at the CSE, said: “The donation from Bristol Energy’s Fuel Good Fund will make a huge difference to people struggling financially during this difficult time. With this fund, we’ll be able to help those most in need to allow their income to stretch a bit further and take away the worry of yet another bill to pay.
“This is an amazingly generous donation from Bristol Energy as they are not only helping their own customers but also those who are really struggling and with different fuel suppliers. They are one step ahead of other suppliers in supporting the most vulnerable.
“If you are worried about your energy use, please do not hesitate to contact the WHAM project on 0800 082 2234.”
The WHAM project is a major city-wide fuel poverty prevention project for low-income households to freely access in-depth and expert support from leading organisations tackling fuel poverty: the CSE, Talking Money, We Care Home Improvements, Citizens Advice and Bristol Energy Network.
Last year, Bristol Energy donated £25,000 from its Fuel Good Fund to the WHAM project, to help the WHAM team provide in-depth and face to face support to vulnerable households across the city. The CSE revealed the donation helped lift 71 households out of fuel poverty, helping beneficiaries save or gain more than £60,000 through energy efficient measures and expert advice.
Find out more about our Fuel Good Fund.