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Northern Gas Networks (NGN), the North of England’s gas distributer, has joined forces with Northern Powergrid and Groundwork Leeds’Green Doctors to mark Fuel Poverty Awareness Day (17 February), National Energy Action’s (NEA) annual awareness day to raise awareness of fuel poverty and cold homes.

Across a fortnight, over 20 volunteers from the Northern Gas Networks and Northern Powergrid will spend a day partnering with the Green Doctors advisors in Yorkshire to offer energy saving advice and support to vulnerable customers living in Bradford and Leeds.

The volunteers will accompany Green Doctors on their visits to vulnerable customer’s homes, assisting with fitting energy saving devices, installing insulation, sharing advice about fuel switching and general energy saving hints and tips.

NGN has been working with Groundworks Green Doctor’s since July 2016. The scheme helps vulnerable service users save money on energy bills and keep warm and comfortable in their homes through installing energy saving measures; offering advice and support around grants, rebates, switching, energy debt and behaviour change around energy use.

Tom Bell, Head of Social Strategy at Northern Gas Networks, said: “Fuel poverty continues to be a large problem across the North of England, with almost a quarter of houses in the North thought to be spending more than 10% of their income on heating their homes.

“NGn’s volunteering scheme allows colleagues across the business to spend two paid days every year giving back to the community. We wanted to encourage colleagues to use these days to mark Fuel Poverty Awareness Day and bolster the great work that Groundwork’s Green Doctors already do, helping to reach even more people and increasing energy affordability, warmth and wellbeing among vulnerable households in Bradford and Leeds.”

A spokesperson from Groundworks said: “We are grateful for the work, involvement and support given by Northern Powergrid and Northern Gas Networks. We see the consequences of cold homes every single day where people with serious health conditions or young children can’t afford to heat their homes. These families are cold and need to be able to heat their homes adequately to keep them safe.”

Since partnering with Groundworks Northern Gas Networks has supported 208 households through the Green Doctors scheme, installing over 1,000 energy efficiency measures and 158 CO detectors in homes throughout Bradford and Leeds.

To support the NEa’s Nation’s Biggest Housewarming event on 17 February colleagues from NGn’s customer contact centre in Sunderland will be taking part in a fuel poverty quiz and food sale, with all proceeds donated to the charity.

To mark the day NGN has collaborated with the other UK gas distribution networks to commission fuel poverty charity National Energy Action to produce the ‘In from the Cold’, report highlighting opportunities to help vulnerable households struggling to afford to keep their homes warm.

The report, published today, recommends measures to help provide greater support to homes in fuel poverty through future changes to Energy Company Obligation (ECO); a major Government initiative to provide heating and insulation to low income households. The proposals would help some of the poorest and most vulnerable members of our communities receive financial support for first time central heating systems, which would also allow them to benefit from support offered by GDNs through the Fuel Poor Network Extension Scheme (FPNES).

For more information about Fuel Poverty Awareness Day please visit: http://www.nea.org.uk/campaigns-policy/fuel-poverty-awareness-day/

To read the full report visit: www.nea.org.uk/infromthecold

If you think you think you or someone you know may be eligible for a free or discounted gas connection, visit www.northerngasnetworks.co.uk/yourconnections