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Home energy visits offer a helping hand

Jules HillJules Hill of Beat the Cold who conducted home energy surveys in the Penkside area

The Penkside Project has involved a wide range of ‘sustainable development’ activities, which aim to bring environmental, community and economic benefits to the area.

In the last 18 months 100 home energy visits have been carried out, making a real difference to families – saving energy, reducing bills, tackling fuel poverty, arranging referrals to other agencies and services, etc. Here are two of their stories….

Mr M
Mr P, a young man who is registered disabled, moved into a flat in the area. He had been paying £10/week to pay for electricity throughout the summer. Beat the Cold made a home energy visit and discovered that the Economy 7 system was not set up correctly and loads of water was being heated up continuously, when it wasn’t needed. Beat the Cold reset the hot water programme, advised on how the storage heaters worked and also helped register Mr M on the Priority Services Register, which gives access to a range of benefits and advice about energy bills, metering and other help. His energy bill has been reduced by around half!  


Mrs P
Due to illness in the family Mrs P had built up a number of debts, council tax and gas and electric bills. Whilst doing a home visit Beat the Cold helped out big time.  They gave lots of advice on ways to save energy (such as closing the curtains at dusk, only boiling what you need in the kettle and improving insulation, etc.). They updated the pre-payment meter and then applied to npower’s Energy Trust Fund for help. The Trust may be able to help people clear domestic energy debts and in certain exceptional circumstances can help to clear other priority debts and purchase essential household items such as a refrigerator or cooker. In Mrs P’s case, the Trust was able to pay off £350 of the outstanding gas and electricity bills, and paid off £470 owed on council tax. This was a massive relief for a family who already had big worries on their plate.

If you wish to contact the npower Energy Fund, phone Charis Grants Ltd on 01733 421060 for an application form, or write to: Charis Grants Ltd, Midgate House, Midgate, Peterborough, PE1 1TN. 
Email: or visit the Charis website.

For more information on environmental and sustainability projects in Penkside please contact Karen Davies at Stafford Borough Council on 01785 619408 or email