Much of our work over the past few years has been to tackle and alleviate the impact of high gas and electricity bills on residents in Sheffield. We've been successful in attracting funding to run a number of projects to provide advice on insulation and damp, switching to cheaper energy deals, and actively installing small affordable draft-proofing measures for people. We also help resolve billing problems, help with debt issues, and access financial support - making sure people get the benefits they're entitled to.
Big Energy Saving Network
Since 2014 SYEC have helped 100's of people in Sheffield to save money on their energy bills by switching to cheaper providers and new tariffs. We've also helped many to access the government's £140 Warm Home Discount rebate scheme, and the free Priority Service Register to help those most in need.We also run training for dozens of frontline workers from organisations across the city, to help them support the people they work with. Tackling high fuel bills can easily add £200-300 to a household's annual budget, enabling a significant improvement in living standard for those at the bottom of the income scale. As of 2018 we've advised over 500 frontline staff on what they can do to help their service users reduce crippling fuel bills.Since our involvement in the Big Energy Saving Network we've talked to nearly 2500 people about their bills and staying warm at home; and we've saved vulnerable people across Sheffield well over £13000 by switching tariff! (to March 2018).
Warm and Well
SYEC have worked as a lead partner, with Sheffield City Council, Yorkshire Housing Association and Sheffield Advice, to deliver free efficient boilers, insulation and draft-proofing to homes in the city.The project delivered by the South Yorkshire Energy Centre aimed to provide help to those in most need and in the most deprived areas as well as other vulnerable groups. The project established a network of referral contacts that included community and health professionals who support the most vulnerable on a daily basis. A promotional leaflet and referral form were used to capture the details of people who might be eligible and staff also attended local events in libraries, food banks, community cafés and drop-ins at local venues to engage with people and collect referrals. The project provided advice and support on energy bills and helping people to check if they were receiving the Warm Home Discount.To help reduce energy costs further, small low-cost measures were installed in draughty homes including draught excluders, insulating tape and radiator foil to maximise heat retention. With the help of Yorkshire Housing Handyperson’s service, the project was also able to provide boiler repairs and more technical installations.We identified 99 properties that went on to receive installments. Every new condensing boiler is likely to be saving that household around £200/year through improved efficiency, plus reducing CO2 emissions by 300kg year. Loft insulation measures have a similar impact, so that the £2400 invested in each home by the Warm and Well programme will easily be recouped through bills savings, improved comfort and better health (and reduced costs to NHS!).
Wiser and Warmer
The 'Wiser and Warmer' project, funded by Scottish Power, supported families and older people in some of the city’s most hard to reach neighbourhoods providing peer-to-peer support around energy efficiency, affordable warmth and fuel poverty. Trained volunteers helped people to gain more control over heating their home and to maximise income/reduce costs, through energy efficiency measures and specialist advice.We reached 254 low-income households (70% under £12k/year) with advice and real assistance, directly benefitting 772 people. For instance, over £11,000 was saved collectively by switching to cheaper tariffs! And 32 households were identified as eligible for unclaimed Warm Home Discount totalling £4,480 a year.And there's more...we referred 30 households to the 'Warm and Well' scheme for new boiler and heating systems. With potential annual savings of £210 for each household, that's £6,300 (based on replacing an old boiler (G rated) with a new A rated condensing boiler x 30 households).We then followed-up with the 30 households to check that they were using the systems effectively and to look at further savings, and to review tariffs.