Energise your Home
Airdrie CAB are proud to work with a variety of funders to offer specialist support for a wide-range of energy-related issues. We provide a vital link between energy suppliers and customers. Our work includes assisting our communities with billing or meter issues, fuel debt, grant applications, accessing emergency credit for pre-payment meters, setting up payment methods/plans, finding a lower tariff and switching. We also offer advice accessing additional financial support to help with winter fuel bills, energy efficiency and referral for insulation measures or boiler replacement.
We ensure your voice and concerns are heard, holding and Chairing the Energy Focus Forum, which brings together members from the charitable sector, energy providers, councillors and government to hear about issues facing the community and solutions for the future.
Smart Energy GB
Airdrie Citizens Advice Bureau has received a grant to spread the word about smart meters. We have been focusing on providing assistance amongst people over 65 with no personal internet access in Airdrie and surrounding villages.
Every home will have the opportunity to upgrade to a smart meter, at no extra cost, as part of the national smart meter rollout. The rollout is an essential technology upgrade, unprecedented in its scale, to improve Great Britain’s energy infrastructure.
Smart meters are the simple way to control your energy use. They come with an in-home display that shows how much energy you’re using in pounds and pence, and enable accurate bills instead of estimates.
The Smart Energy GB in Communities fund is a central part of Smart Energy GB’s work to ensure everyone in Great Britain hears about smart meters and knows how to use them to get their gas and electricity under control.
Airdrie Citizens Advice Bureau’s Energy Team will use the funding to raise awareness and benefits of Smart Meters and support individuals to request Smart Meters.
How we helped Roberta
Client names have been changed to protect their identity.
Roberta is a mother of one and is expecting her second child; a single parent, she receives no financial support from her former partner. She is in receipt of Employment and Support Allowance and Personal Independence Payment. Roberta has mental health issues and struggles with memory problems. Her mother holds Power of Attorney, therefore any information we gave to Roberta had to be relayed via her mother.
Roberta came to the bureau looking for help in dealing with her energy provider. Roberta maintained that she had regularly contacted her supplier; requesting payment cards for her gas and electricity accounts but they never arrived. She knew that debt was building up, causing her anxiety. A debt collection agency had, apparently, tried to access her property and this had distressed Roberta to such an extent that she no longer felt comfortable in her home.
We contacted her supplier and explained her situation. It was established that she owed £5,000 for both gas and electricity. The bureau challenged the utility firm, based on Roberta’s assertion that she had attempted contact but that no one had followed through with her concerns and issued the requested cards.
Intervention from the bureau ensured that the Back Billing Code of Practice was adhered to. This meant that the Roberta would only be billed for the last year. This reduced Roberta’s debt from £5,000 to £1,247, saving Roberta £3,753.
In addition, a payment plan was set up. Roberta was given a number of options, but decided on a weekly payment plan of £26 which covers her usage. A payment card has been issued and Roberta will be able to use it at any Post Office, PayPoint or over the phone. The importance of maintaining payments was stressed and if there were any problems to get in touch with the bureau.
An application was also made via Charis Grants to the Energy Fund of her supplier. The fund is designed to help consumers, like Roberta, who are experiencing hardship and struggling to pay their gas and electricity bills to become financially stable. It offers grants, if their customer first demonstrates their commitment to achieving financial stability by making regular payments over a three month period for ongoing usage. If they make sufficient payments, the award is confirmed and the debt is cleared. If the client makes insufficient payments, the award is withdrawn and the debt, together with any further arrears accrued over the three months remains.
Roberta appreciated the assistance of the bureau’s energy team; that someone had listened to her concerns and now she feels more in control of her life.