The new Warm Homes Network is now in pilot phase in Cumbria, after the launch of a similar project in Birmingham in August and ahead of an expected UK-wide roll out in 2024.
- Northern Gas Networks is working with gas distribution network company Cadent, Cumberland Council and Citizens Advice – Carlisle and Eden, to name but a few.
- Consumers referred to the Warm Homes Network should expect energy savings in excess of £3,000 each, through access to expert energy, money, and benefits advice.
As winter 2023 is upon us and concerns that the ongoing cost-of-living crisis will continue to impact household bills, Northern Gas Networks with just under 3 million customers, has launched a new pilot scheme that aims to directly alleviate fuel poverty through bespoke personal support.
For the first time, in a major new partnership, utility providers, charities and technology companies will collaborate to deliver ‘The Warm Homes Network’ bringing together organisations to collectively provide free and direct support to customers. Charities are set to offer services where they are best placed according to their unique expertise.
- Strategic partners for the Cumbria pilot include Northern Gas Networks, Cadent and Sia Partners.
- Delivery partners for the Cumbria Pilot include Cumberland Council, RABI, YES Energy Solutions, United Utilities, Cold to Cosy Homes (CAfS), Citizens Advice – Carlisle and Eden, and Pennysmart CIC.
- Support partners for the Cumbria Pilot have included Churches Together Cumbria, Cumbria CVS, ACTion with Communities in Cumbria and Age UK – Carlisle and Eden.
Launching as a pilot in Cumbria, the first phase will test the network by supporting an initial 100 customers living in the most vulnerable situations. Created to be a community of trusted partners, offering customers a single source of support to navigate the energy crisis, the Warm Homes Network expects to contribute to energy savings of an average of over £3,000 per household, significantly more than similar schemes can deliver through a single interaction. Based on estimations from an initial pilot in Birmingham it is expected that the scheme will see consumer benefits totalling more than £580,000.
Having a one-stop-shop for vital guidance, including energy efficiency, benefits entitlement, and debt advice, will remove complexity for consumers, as well as maximising the amount families can save.
Eileen Brown, Customer Experience Director at Northern Gas Networks said: “The Warm Homes Network collaboration creates a powerful platform for some of the UK’s leading utility, charity, and technology brands to maximise their support for families who really need it. We are incredibly proud to be leading on this initiative and our initial forecasts predict that the model will quickly and significantly have a positive impact for families when they need help the most. I’m excited to see the programme in operation and look forward to the roll out across the UK, potentially reaching and supporting thousands of families.”
Lisa Brown, Cumberland Council’s Deputy Leader (statutory) said: “As partners we all have the same basic aim – warm, healthy residents. Fuel poverty is, sadly, a reality for many, and this pilot will help us deliver comprehensive help to the most vulnerable people, ensuring no-one falls through the gaps.”
Nikki Carney, Outreach and Engagement Manager for United Utilities, added: “We’re really pleased to be supporting this Cumbria Warm Homes Network initiative. We understand the pressure some customers are facing this winter with paying their bills. This initiative will ensure more customers are able to get the financial support they need with their bills.”
Jozi Brown, Development Officer at ACTion with Communities in Cumbria said: “ACTion with Communities in Cumbria is delighted to have been working with the Northern Gas Network and partners to get the Cumbria Warm Homes Network initiative up and running. We know that fuel poverty is a great concern for many of the rural communities we work with; to see such a collaborative effort being made to improve access to advice and support for people should make a real difference and help to overcome the barriers people face, when they’re trying to get the help, they’re entitled to.”
Delivery partners include:
- Cumberland Council
• RABI (The Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution)
• YES Energy Solutions
• Cold to Cosy Homes (CAfS)
• Citizens Advice – Carlisle and Eden
• Pennysmart CIC – Debt Advisor
• United Utilities
To learn more about the Warm Homes Network please visit https://brnw.ch/21wEScY
If you would like to register interest in funding or delivering parts of the project as it scales, please contact our Vulnerability and Carbon Monoxide Allowance (VCMA) team, firstname.lastname@example.org
Anyone that smells gas or suspects carbon monoxide should call the National Gas Emergency Service immediately on 0800 111 999. This line is in operation 24-hours a day, seven days a week.