Orbit has successfully supported more than 50% of customers across its independent living schemes to apply for Energy Bill Support Scheme Alternative Funding (EBSSAF) despite over 75% of eligible people nationally missing out.
The EBSSAF was set up by the government for people living in places such as park homes, houseboats and care homes who did not have an energy supplier, so that they could manually apply for the £400 relief that all householders had taken off their energy bills automatically last year.
Recently, government figures revealed that more than 700,000 households in Great Britain have missed out on £300m worth of support via the scheme, after only about 200,000 out of the 900,000 households eligible to apply did so before the 31 May deadline*.
However, by contacting customers living in its independent living schemes to help them apply for the fund, Orbit was able to help its customers to access £132,400 savings off their bills.
Orbit identified and wrote to 683 independent living customers that were eligible for the fund to give them information about how to apply and to offer support to those who needed it in completing their application. Managers of the independent living schemes were given training to help people with their applications and volunteers were recruited to attend events at some sites.
Daniel Welch, Energy and Environment Lead for Orbit commented: “Of the 683 customers that we identified, 372 took up our offer of help to complete their application and we’re sure even more managed to successfully apply themselves with the information we shared with them. We felt it was really important that these older and more vulnerable customers didn’t miss out on this much needed support during what are really challenging times for lots of people. By being proactive and reaching out to these customers we’ve been able to buck the national trend and ensure people most in need accessed the energy bill relief that they were entitled to.”
Orbit is one of more than 30 housing associations who have called on the government to reopen the EBSSAF and extend the deadline until 31 December 2023.
*According to analysis by BBC Radio 4 Moneybox: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-66124201