Making a difference to fuel-poor customers in Dagenham
The head of Ofgem recently visited a community in Dagenham to see how we are working with Affordable Warmth Solutions (AWS) to ensure residents are warmer, healthier and more energy efficient.
AWS is a Community Interest Company that assists qualifying homes in the 25% most deprived areas in England by offering new gas connections to those not currently connected to the Cadent gas distribution network.
Dermot Nolan, Chief Executive of Ofgem, visited Holden Close in Dagenham to see how our joint initiative is helping residents by providing affordable heating solutions to their homes. Gas – economical and efficient Through Ofgem’s Fuel Poor Network Extension Scheme (FPNES), we have connected over 80 properties in Holden Close to the local gas network and provided them with a new economical gas heating system.
Saving money and improving health
Previously the community had to make do with inefficient and costly electric storage heaters or other ineffective heating methods. Now the residents could save hundreds of pounds per year and could help to prevent circulatory diseases and respiratory illnesses that are often caused by living in cold and damp buildings.
Privately rented and owned homes, such as those included in the project, are traditionally hard to reach with energy improvements. Tenants may find it difficult to get their landlord’s agreement to upgrade heating, may fall into a gap of not qualifying for certain schemes, or aren’t able to meet the cost of upgrading heating themselves.
Richard Court, Cadent Head of Regulation and External Affairs, said: ‘This is an exciting step, it’s the first big community scheme of this kind in our North London network.
‘Bringing all the different pieces together to make these schemes work for private rented homes is not easy but through AWS we have shown how it can be done and we hope the investment we’ve made here with AWS will make things better for the residents of Holden Close.’
He added: ‘We’ll be working with AWS to identify how we can help policymakers and the industry create the framework to repeat what we have shown is possible in Dagenham.’