Nottingham City Council’s Energy Services team has won a national award for efforts to address fuel poverty and increase the use of green energy during the Covid crisis.
The team implemented a range of measures as soon as the first lockdown was announced last March, to support vulnerable people who were self-isolating and spending more time at home. They had over 10,000 interactions with customers through the first six months of the pandemic, and have saved an average of £1,176 per household.
Their achievements were recognised by the Edie Awards – one of the leading national awards for sustainability – where they won the Green Recovery Initiative of the Year award. The team is leading on reducing fuel poverty in the city, but over 18,000 households remain in fuel poverty and Covid-19 placed them at more risk of financial difficulties and health concerns.
Some immediate action that was taken included providing a card with pre-loaded credit to heat network customers identified as self-isolating to ensure they didn’t get cut off, making periodic welfare calls to priority service customers and providing any customers facing financial hardship with credit to last them for two months.
The Warm Homes Hub was also launched, bringing £1m of support to the city, delivered alongside Age UK, Nottingham Energy Partnership and EON. This works alongside the city’s leading Energiesprong programme which delivers deep retrofits to homes, to achieve net zero carbon standards, which is being rolled out to 335 homes.
The Warm Homes Hub is on track to install central heating systems to 100 properties, moving away from the dirtiest forms of fossil fuel heating, and will provide a package of support to 1,000 vulnerable households including energy saving advice, benefit checks, tariff switching and an emergency fund for those who lack adequate heating.
Edie Award judges said: “Nottingham City Council have offered a genuinely different approach, that gets to the nub of a systemic issue. Poor and vulnerable citizens are disproportionately impacted by Covid-19. Nottingham City Council have targeted this critically important issue with a suite of innovative measures that tackle fuel poverty and facilitate decarbonisation for the city.”
City Council Deputy Leader and Portfolio Holder for Energy and Environment, Cllr Sally Longford, said: “Our energy services team has stepped up and made a real difference for people during the Covid crisis and I’m absolutely delighted that their efforts have been recognised and rewarded on a national stage.
“Their actions mean that Nottingham’s most vulnerable citizens are being protected from the impacts of COVID-19 and further hardship that they may have suffered. Residents who might otherwise have had to choose between food and an adequately heated home have been provided with practical support and physical improvements to their homes.
“Our green recovery projects will continue to support our key objectives of tackling fuel poverty and achieving a carbon neutral city by 2028 and have accelerated our efforts to achieve these goals.”
For more information about the council’s our Fuel Poverty Strategy and Action Plan as well as examples of interventions, visit: https://www.nottinghamcity.gov.uk/warmhomes
For further information on the council’s Carbon Neutral 2028 Charter and Action Plan, visit: https://www.nottinghamcity.gov.uk/your-council/about-the-council/carbon-neutral-nottingham-2028/why-do-we-need-to-act/