Newport City Homes has been awarded almost £500k in grant funding from the Ofgem Energy Industry Voluntary Redress Scheme, to help its customers and communities reduce energy costs.
The social housing provider will be working with Community Interest Company, Warm Wales, who work to alleviate poverty, to offer a package of support over the next 2 years. This will include offering energy saving advice, distributing energy smart packs (like LED bulbs, stand by plugs and draught excluders) and providing advocacy support – such as liaising with energy companies, on behalf of individuals, to make sure they’re on a suitable tariff and that appropriate affordable payment plans are in place, where needed.
Under Ofgem’s Energy Redress Scheme, companies who are found to have breached a license condition, or were part of an investigation or compliance case, can make voluntary payments alongside, or instead of, fines and compensation to address any harm caused to consumers. Ofgem have appointed the Energy Saving Trust to distribute these payments on its behalf.
Organisations can apply for funding from the Scheme to support projects which help vulnerable households reduce their energy costs and in developing carbon emission reduction initiatives. Newport City Homes is the only organisation in Wales to receive funds under the latest Redress Scheme round.
The £500k allocated to Newport City Homes will help to support around 6,000 homes in the city across the next 2 years – with roughly 80% comprising customers of Newport City Homes and the remaining 20% supporting vulnerable households across the wider community.
A team of housing support and energy advisors will be trained to work alongside community partners in identifying those most in need and in delivering the package of energy saving support. The roll-out of this service is expected to take place later in the Spring.
Nathan Davies, Community Development Manager, at Newport City Homes, said:
“This Energy Redress Scheme funding couldn’t have come at a more important time and will make a real difference to people’s lives. It builds on the investment we’re already making in improving the energy efficiency of our homes and helping to reduce the cost of utility bills. Last year, we were pleased to have helped our customers get access to over £1million in additional income, working closely in partnership with other agencies. We’re now looking forward to working with Warm Wales, to roll out this extra support package to those most in need in our communities.”
Joanna Seymour, Head of Partnerships and Development, at Warm Wales added:
“This is an exciting opportunity to be working with Newport City Homes and comes at a time when it is greatly needed. We have been working with housing providers in North Wales and it is good that Newport City Homes are the first that we will be working with in South Wales on this scale. We’re able to bring our experience and knowledge to support all residents of Newport, looking at support and advice on how to keep homes warm and reduce energy bills, along with working towards creating energy smart people and communities across Newport.”
Newport City Homes is also separately allocating £200k of its own investment into helping customers most in need over the next 12 months. This five-fold increase in its welfare funding is designed to enhance the support it can provide to the most vulnerable during the UK’s current cost-of-living crisis.
The association is also delivering an ambitious programme to improve the energy efficiency of its homes. This includes working collaboratively to test and pilot the most suitable energy saving solutions through the Optimised Retrofit Programme; delivering a costed programme and long-term decarbonisation roadmap for existing homes; building new homes to Welsh Development Quality Requirements (WDQR 2021) and trialling modern methods of construction for new homes.