NEA, who estimate that 6.7 million households in the UK could now be in fuel poverty, will be working alongside the social housing provider and housebuilder to provide a specialist telephone energy advice service to Orbit customers most in need, helping them with energy grants, fuel debt applications, liaising with energy suppliers, and changing tariffs or payment types.
In addition, Orbit and NEA will host face-to-face Winter wellbeing events and hand out 1,000 ‘Winter warmth support packs’ containing useful products and resources for people struggling with their bills.
Furthermore, NEA will be providing 70 of Orbit’s frontline colleagues with energy advice training so that they are better equipped to support customers who are struggling.
Daniel Welch, Energy and Environment Lead at Orbit, said: “This winter is going to be an extremely challenging time for many of us – not least our customers who are amongst the most vulnerable to the impacts of fuel poverty. We’re thrilled to be joining forces with NEA to offer customers expert guidance on how to navigate the challenges of the coming months and support them to remain warm and well in their homes.”
The partnership with the NEA is part of a new raft of measures being introduced by Orbit as part of its ‘Better Days’ programme to help customers manage their finances, maximise their income and reduce the pressure of cost-of-living increases.
Recently, Orbit announced the launch of a Welfare Benefits Advice Service which will be provided by Citizens Advice South Warwickshire and Rugby Nuneaton and Bedworth Citizens’ Advice (BRANCAB) and will support around 1,200 tenants and homeowners every year, who need help to understand and apply for the benefits that they’re eligible for as well as providing coaching about how to become more financially resilient.
Other measures include a new cost-of-living education hub on Orbit’s customer website, a furnished home pilot to help customers out of furniture poverty, and an increase of funding to Orbit’s existing mental health support service commissioned with Mind and Aspire4u Breathing Space.
Bethany Steer, Project Development Manager at National Energy Action said: "We are really pleased to be working alongside the Better Days team at events. As the energy crisis continues and bills spiral, the work we do at National Energy Action has never been needed more. We want to give as many Orbit residents as possible practical and effective energy advice, alongside the other services, to help them through winter and beyond."
For more information on Orbit’s ‘Better Days’ services, visit: www.orbitcustomerhub.org.uk/help-support/your-energy-our-support/