4,000 of Portsmouth’s most vulnerable households will get help and advice to cut their fuel bills through cash secured by Portsmouth City Council.
The £170,000 grant comes from the charity the Environment Centre as part of its Energy Redress Scheme. This aims to get people out of fuel poverty.
This is the latest in £7.4m of grants the council has got to tackle fuel poverty in the city. Around 12.1 per cent of Portsmouth households in Portsmouth cannot afford to keep their homes adequately warm, compared with the national average rate of 10.9 per cent.
The grant will help create a team to reach out to vulnerable and disadvantaged communities to reduce their risk of fuel poverty and support them to stay warm and well in their homes.
It will also enable fuel-poor households to receive an in-depth and extended home-visit service, covering free fuel top ups to a dedicated energy advice phone line. This builds on the existing provision that offers a range of measures, including:
– install free simple energy saving measures such as LED light bulbs and draught-proofing
– check if residents are on the best energy tariff
– arrange a free money advice consultation
– residents find funding for further energy-saving home improvements.
Funding will also be used to further develop the City’s ‘Fuel Poverty Working Group’, made up of stakeholders from across Portsmouth working towards a collaborative approach to tackling fuel poverty.
Councillor Darren Sanders, the council’s Cabinet Member for Housing said:
“Too many people in our city are forced to choose between heating and eating. That is wrong, which is why it is great that the council is – yet again – tackling the problem.
“Too often, people do not know what to turn or what to do when it comes to cutting fuel bills. This finding from the Environment Centre helps deal with this vital gap.
“I am keen to make sure the council and other agencies in the city make our homes as energy efficient as possible. That is why I am looking forward to seeing the city’s first strategy to do just that soon.”
The additional funding comes shortly after the council launched its ‘energy and water at home strategy’ consultation, which focuses heavily on fuel poverty mitigation.
The council is currently working towards a 1st April launch when the new schemes will be operational. Residents will be referred into the additional support services after having an initial visit if deemed eligible.
Adam Goulden, Chief Executive of the Environment Centre said:
“We are delighted to have been awarded funding through the Redress Scheme and are looking forward to supporting Portsmouth City Council and the Fuel Poverty Action group as they work to tackle this hugely important issue.
We welcome the opportunity to be able to provide more intensive support to a greater number of vulnerable residents and help them stay warm and well in the homes.”
Residents will also be able to apply for the additional support through the council’s new energy and money saving website www.switchedonportsmouth.co.uk.