SGN, who maintains Scotland’s Gas Network, has announced a new vulnerability funding package of just over £1 million over two years to help people reduce their energy bills and also avoid carbon monoxide poisoning.
SGN is funding the Citizen Advice network in Scotland to provide advice and support to over 6,000 households in the next 2 years.
The new Safe and Warm Advice Service will be targeted at vulnerable and hard-to-reach groups across Scotland. It will ensure more people are advised on how to use energy safely and efficiently in their homes to help reduce their energy bills. The project will also raise awareness of the dangers of carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning, by explaining how people can spot the symptoms and what to do if they are concerned.
The Scottish Citizens Advice network is made up of 59 local Citizens Advice Bureaux (CABs), plus a national phoneline and web service. It already offers extensive advice on energy bills and this new project will be an addition to that service.
Maureen McIntosh, Head of Customer Experience at SGN, said:
“We’re extremely excited to be working with the Citizens Advice network in Scotland, one of the most well-known, highly regarded, and trusted advice organisations. We know this partnership is going to make a huge difference to communities across Scotland. With the cost-of-living crisis, this support is more vital than ever to keep those households and families most in need safe and warm.”
Derek Mitchell, Chief Executive at Citizens Advice Scotland, said:
“This is a terrific boost to our work providing energy-related advice. SGN has supported our work over many years and this is the latest manifestation of that. The new money will mean CABs across Scotland can employ additional advisers. The specific aims of this project are to reach vulnerable people, including those who are hard-to-reach, and that’s a hugely important objective. The emphasis on CO poisoning is also extremely important, and will hopefully save lives.”
Anyone who needs advice on using energy safely, efficiently and affordably can contact their local Citizens Advice Bureau, check the online advice pages [https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/scotland/] or call the Citizens Advice national helpline on 0800 028 1456.
The support that will be available
The energy advisers will be employed in CABs across central and southern Scotland to engage with local communities to support vulnerable people, as well as hard-to-reach groups, like asylum seekers, minority ethnic groups, travellers, Park Home communities and digitally excluded people. The energy advisers will
- undertake community engagement by delivering energy workshops for:
- frontline workers to enable them to better support their clients and signpost to their local CAB, as appropriate
- consumers so they can improve their understanding of how to use energy safely, efficiently and affordably and understand the danger of carbon monoxide poisoning
- provide information, advice and support to people on a one to one basis in their local bureaux, and at local bureau outreaches. They will also be able to undertake home visits for those who need this.
- provide information and advice about how to maximise your income: for example, claiming all benefits and energy grants you are entitled to.
- raise awareness of the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning: how to spot it, how to prevent it and how to respond if you experience the symptoms. They will be able to provide carbon monoxide alarms to people who own their own home and don’t have one.
Carbon monoxide (CO) is known as the “silent killer” because it’s invisible and has no smell. CO can be produced from any carbon base appliance including gas cookers, gas friers, gas barbecues, Calor gas heaters, paraffin heaters, etc. The six main signs and symptoms are headaches, breathlessness, dizziness, collapsing, nausea and loss of consciousness.