Merseyside’s Energy Projects Plus in the European Parliament

Last week I had the pleasure of hosting the workshop: ‘Energy Efficiency: A Key Solution to Energy Poverty’. We had speeches from experts at the European Commission, from Renovate Europe (a campaign to improve the energy efficiency of buildings) and from Merseyside-based Energy Projects Plus, an independent charity whose vision is to reduce levels of energy poverty and promote warmer homes nationwide.

Energy Projects Plus, celebrating their 20th anniversary this year, aims to teach the public about energy efficiency and to empower members of the community to take action on reducing their own energy bills. Energy Projects Plus’ main aim is to eradicate the scourge of energy poverty, so that no one has to choose between heating and eating.

Here in the European Parliament, we wanted to know more about the brilliant work of Energy Projects Plus (EPP). If you want some advice on being more energy efficient and saving money on your energy bills, see how EPP can help you:

 

Save Energy Advice Line

Part-funded by local authorities across Merseyside and Cheshire, the advice line can be contacted on 0800 043 0151. Lines are open 9am-5pm Monday-Friday (apart from bank holidays). EPP’s telephone advisors have City & Guilds training in household energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies. All clients are assessed and referred to the most appropriate project to provide the assistance they require. This might be an internal project, such as those listed above, or they may be referred to an external agency for such assistance as benefits maximisation or insulation installation.

Health Through Warmth

Funded by Npower, this scheme looks to provide financial assistance to homeowners who require replacement/new heating systems, and who have chronic health conditions made worse through cold and damp living conditions (such as cancer and heart disease). A Health Through Warmth officer can visit the client in their home to assess need and assist with the completion of paperwork. The funding from Npower won’t cover the entire cost of the heating system, so a client contribution will be required. The Health Through Warmth team will seek further charitable funds to reduce the client contribution as much as possible.

Merseyside Collective Switch

A partnership programme with all local authorities of the Liverpool City Region (Halton, Knowsley, Liverpool, Sefton, St. Helens and Wirral) and a collection of social landlords, the collective switch is aimed primarily at assisting those clients who are unable/hesitant to switch energy tariffs themselves. The Collective Switch is led by Energy Projects Plus with tariffs negotiated by partner, EnergyHelpLine. The most recent collective switch saw clients benefit from the lowest fuel tariff available on the market for four years. The average saving for a client who hasn’t switched for over two years is over £200.

Wirral Fuel Debt Advice Service

Funded by British Gas Energy Trust, EPP’s fuel debt advisors are targeted with clearing fuel debts for clients who are struggling to pay. In order to receive funding for this, EPP must be able to show the funders that the client can’t continue without support, and show that the support they offer will place the client in a position whereby the debt won’t be accrued again. This is accomplished by providing a home visit to the client in order to complete a storyboard on the application form. EPP can also apply for ‘Further Assistance Payments’ to cover the costs of funeral arrears, to purchase white goods (cookers, fridges, freezers, fridge-freezers or washing machines) or to purchase a new boiler.

As well as the above large projects, EPP also hosts an annual energy poverty conference, contributing to and delivering energy poverty strategies and managing projects that test alternative models, such as Warmer Wirral, funded by Wirral Council to provide assistance to those living in Wirral locations worst hit by energy poverty; and the Big Energy Saving Network, funded by Department of Energy and Climate Change, which offers additional support to people looking to switch energy supplier during the winter months. EPP also organise Open Awards accredited Level 1 and Level 2 training courses provide frontline workers and community organisations with the necessary skills to identify the issues of energy poverty and help their clients to achieve the solutions.

 

It was brilliant to have a local charity in the European Parliament highlighting their innovative work fighting energy poverty and giving their expertise. I know that the crucial work of Energy Projects Plus will spread to more and more households around the North West, and hopefully, it will inspire countries throughout the European Union to eliminate energy poverty, once and for all.

For more information, contact Dominic Griffiths at dominic.griffiths@epplus.org.uk / 0151 637 3680, or check out EPP out online:

Twitter: @EP_Plus

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Energy.Projects.Plus

Website: http://www.epplus.org.uk/