Dermot Nolan, the CEO of Ofgem, visited the county this week to see first-hand the positive impact made in the county by the Ofgem Energy Redress scheme – which uses funds collected from energy companies from compliance or enforcement cases when Ofgem finds them to be failing customers. Charities can bid for the funds to support consumers in vulnerable situations and the development of innovative products or services not currently available to energy consumers.
Whether the news is price rises on energy tariffs, teething problems with smart meters, payback times on solar panels, or the looming return of the Beast from the East – it can sometimes feel like all news is bad news when it comes to energy. Because every home is different, it is hard for householders to know where to turn to find advice and support that makes sense for them.
But this need not be the case in Gloucestershire any longer, since Shelley Bird began work as the county’s dedicated Energy Advocate in April. This pilot project – funded by the Energy Saving Trust’s ‘Energy Redress’ scheme and the NHS Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group, and delivered by two local charities, Severn Wye Energy Agency and Caring for Communities and People (CCP) – has already worked with dozens of residents to reduce energy bills, access grant funding and make improvements to their homes ahead of the winter chill.
It is this project that brought Dermot Nolan, CEO of Ofgem (the energy regulator), to Gloucestershire this week to meet those involved, and visit some of the residents that have benefitted from the support of an Energy Advocate.
Dermot Nolan said:
‘I am delighted to be in Cheltenham to visit Severn Wye and CCP’s scheme, which is one of the first charitable groups to be granted money from Ofgem’s Voluntary Redress Fund.
Energy companies can pay into the Voluntary Redress Fund through compliance or enforcement cases when we find them to be failing customers.
We work closely with the Energy Savings Trust who manage the fund on our behalf to a range of charities that make a difference to local communities and particularly consumers in vulnerable circumstances across Great Britain.
I have enjoyed meeting local residents who – thanks to this scheme – will get help keeping their homes warm and cutting their energy bills.’
Shelley, an energy advisor from Severn Wye’s Warm and Well team, is working with CCP’s Community Wellbeing Service at their Cheltenham First Stop advice centre. Shelley is reaching out to residents through drop-in sessions, home visits and surgeries all around the county and can offer support to all Gloucestershire residents.
Appointments can be booked by calling the CCP advice line on 0300 365 6463.