NORTHERN Powergrid is the latest electricity Distribution Network Operator (DNO) to join forces with Gas Distribution Networks Cadent, Northern Gas Networks, SGN and Wales & West Utilities and DNO Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN) Distribution. The companies have already committed to providing the charity with a combined £575,000 fund over two years to support households in a fuel crisis.
The additional support from Northern Powergrid means the fund will be raised by a further £25,000 and can be extended to provide more households in energy crisis with much needed support this year.
The money will be used to provide same or next day emergency financial support to people struggling to top-up their prepayment gas and/or electricity meters. Fuel Bank Foundation will also provide additional ongoing support to help manage energy costs, working together to support families out of crisis and find better energy deals.
Fuel Bank Foundation has already provided support to more than 5,320 people through the energy companies’ partnership, who have been referred by local councils and food banks, Citizens Advice and charities such as Macmillan and Scope.
Over the past five years, the charity has supported households across the country by providing emergency fuel vouchers when their prepayment gas and electricity meters have run out of credit. This new funding will enable Fuel Bank Foundation to support a minimum of an additional 8,000 homes out of fuel crisis, greatly increasing their capacity to provide urgent assistance to those in need.
Matthew Cole, from Fuel Bank Foundation, said: “The forthcoming changes to the energy price cap will see millions of people forced to choose between turning on the heating or putting food on the table for their families. This enhanced partnership with the UK’s energy networks means we can continue our vital work and support thousands more people with same day financial support as well as working with those in need to address the wider issues they are struggling with.”
Michelle Cummings, Northern Powergrid’s Social Responsibility Manager, said: “While our network charges of around 25p a day are a small part of customers’ overall bills, we understand the impact that the increased cost for the energy they buy from their chosen supplier is having – especially for those who are already vulnerable. We’re proud to support the Fuel Bank Foundation with our donation and boost the fund so it can help more people this winter. Partnerships like are vital if we are to be a force for good beyond our networks which are critical to powering peoples’ everyday life.”
Kerry Potter, Group Social Impact and Vulnerability Manager at SGN, said: “There are 6.5 million households struggling to pay at least one of their bills and, working together in partnership, the electricity and gas distribution networks can make a real positive impact, making sure people have safe and warm homes during what is set to be a very challenging winter. We’re working hard to address fuel poverty today and tomorrow and we’re delighted to be partnering with the Fuel Bank Foundation to offer a pathway to help to thousands of people.”
To find out how the partnership could help you or someone you know, visit fuelbankfoundation.org