I’ve worked on several projects designed to reduce fuel poverty in Wales. My current position at the Welsh Government Warm Homes Nest scheme involves building partnerships with public facing support organisations, to raise awareness of Nest free support and drive referrals into the scheme. Previously, I’ve coordinated and assisted local fuel poverty projects and delivered in-home energy coaching, to empower residents with practical knowledge and encourage energy behaviour change.
Wales has some of the oldest and coldest homes in Europe, with much of rural Wales having no access to the relatively cheap heating option of mains gas. Supporting residents in hard to treat, off-gas homes is a priority within the Welsh Government’s ‘worst first’ approach to tackling fuel poverty. Nest plays a key part in the strategy, providing free telephone advice and signposting to everyone in Wales, and for eligible customers living on low incomes in cold homes, a package of free home efficiency measures such as heating systems and insulation fitted in their home.
The Nest advice team support customers daily with a range of issues related to fuel poverty and energy insecurity. In extreme cases fuel poverty can lead to a ‘heat or eat’ situation where a resident is self-disconnecting their energy supplies. For example, some householders cannot afford to fill their heating oil tank, and are not heating their home, leading to unhealthy condensation and mould. And relatively, those on the lowest incomes are likely to be paying the highest prices for their energy.
The positive news is that Nest has supported over 46,800 households with a free home energy efficiency package in their homes since 2011. And customer testimonials show this has made a real impact in terms of improving comfort and wellbeing while helping reduce energy bills. As we head into another winter, many are facing a sharp rise in energy prices, pushing more households into fuel poverty. We are currently working closely with our partner network to ensure we reach the householders most in need with key support once again this winter.