1,000 households have been referred to a pioneering new customer safeguarding scheme launched by fuel poverty charity, National Energy Action (NEA), the Cadent Foundation and gas distribution network, Cadent.
Reactive Response is a new initiative which aims to help people who are faced with having their gas supply disconnected on safety grounds, to stay warm and safe in their homes.
Regulations state that engineers are required to disconnect or isolate the supply of gas to an appliance or property in the event of a gas emergency which poses risk to life and property. However, this can leave vulnerable customers unable to cover the costs of repairing or replacing the appliances, exposing them to the danger of living in a cold home, potentially with no heating, hot water or means of cooking.
The Reactive Response scheme offers a solution by providing support for vulnerable customers who do not have the means or capacity to arrange the necessary works. It allows Cadent engineers to refer customers to NEA, who then organise the repair or replacement work (subject to eligibility). This can range from a simple gas pipework repair to the replacement of gas appliances and even the installation of full central heating systems.
One of the those helped by the scheme is Bethany, a single woman in her 50s with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Her boiler had been broken for some time, and she had not been able to afford to service or repair it. Reactive Response repaired her boiler, giving her access to heating and hot water for the first time in years. A new video highlights how the scheme has helped Bethany and many others like her:
Peter Sumby, Director of Operations, NEA said:
Having an appliance condemned or gas supply disconnected can be devastating, particularly for those who are already struggling to afford heating costs and other essentials. Through this partnership we’ve been able to get people back on track, helping them live in homes that are safe and warm.
Once the gas supply has been safely reinstated, NEA offers customers comprehensive energy efficiency advice, helping customers to be better able to heat their homes at an affordable cost. They are also supported to access other sources of help such as the Warm Home Discount and Priority Services Register, offered a Benefit Entitlement Check and support to claim any identified benefits for which they are eligible. This can lead to significant income gains as a result of a Reactive Response referral.
National Energy Action (NEA) is a national charity working to end fuel poverty in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. For more information, visit www.nea.org.uk