Four expert energy advisers are now in post at Citizens Advice Bureaux across the north of Scotland after completing their training with Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN).
SSEN and Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS) recently joined forces to launch their £140,000 energy adviser programme, with the aim of supporting vulnerable households and helping reduce fuel poverty in the north of Scotland.
The first-of its-kind partnership, which is fully-funded by SSEN, has seen four specialist energy advisers recruited to operate in local Citizens Advice Bureaux to provide free, impartial and bespoke energy advice to everyone in the local communities.
The four advisers, based in Shetland, the Western Isles, Aberdeenshire and Sutherland, have already had extensive CAS and energy efficiency training. Their training with SSEN took in such topics as the rise in fuel poverty, the four core areas of SSEN’s vulnerability strategy, the range of free support that is available through the company’s Priority Services Register (PSR) and details of 105, the national number to call to report a power cut or damage to the electricity network.
The advisers are now working in their individual regions offering energy efficiency and supplier switching advice, referrals to the Warm Home Discount Scheme and Home Energy Scotland for loans, grants and incentives, benefits checks and referring eligible customers to SSEN’s Priority Services Register.
Since July the advisers have already seen 156 clients and helped keep almost £14,000 in their pockets thanks to savings and refunds.
CAS’s Energy Best Deal Project Co-ordinator, Molly Greasley, said:
“Fuel poverty remains a significant challenge for many people living in the rural and islands areas of Scotland and this targeted support from our advisers has already made a fantastic difference to households in those places.
“As well as helping people shop around on energy tariffs and then switch supplier to get a better deal, they have helped clients benefit from discounts on their bills and save money on making their homes more energy efficient.
“The feedback from people has been overwhelmingly positive. As well has keeping money in their pockets, all of those who have had an appointment so far feel the session has improved their peace of mind in dealing with what can be very complex issues.
“If you’re living in the north of Scotland and you think you or someone you know would benefit from our free, impartial and bespoke advice, get in touch with your local Citizens Advice Bureau who will be more than happy to help.”
Simon O’Loughlin, SSEN’s Stakeholder Engagement Manager, said:
“As the distribution network operator for the north of Scotland we are committed to doing all we can to support our customers; this commitment extends beyond investing in the network to keep the lights on, this partnership with CAS is helping us highlight the free care and support that is available through our Priority Services Register, and also give the best possible energy efficiency advice to everyone who visits the CABs.”