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New scheme helps Welsh householders to keep their nests warm

A new scheme aimed at reducing the energy bills of fuel poor householders and those people living in hard to heat homes was launched yesterday by Environment Minister, Jane Davidson.

The Assembly Government’s new fuel poverty scheme ‘Nest’, which is managed by British Gas and the Energy Saving Trust, will open for business on Friday 1st April.

‘Nest ‘, or ‘Nyth’ in Welsh replaces the previous Home Energy Efficiency Scheme (HEES) and boasts a much more focussed approach to tackling fuel poverty.

Householders struggling with their fuel bills can access one central co-ordination point and will be offered tailored advice and support that will help them to improve the energy efficiency of their homes  and reduce their energy bills .

To mark the opening of ‘Nest’, the Environment Minister visited the scheme’s contact centre in Cardiff Bay, and met the advisers who will be helping householders across Wales to reduce their fuel bills.

Speaking about the new scheme, the Minister said:

“We know that rising fuel prices are having a detrimental effect on householders across Wales, and that the poorest families in Wales are being particularly hard hit.

“The Welsh Assembly Government remains committed to protecting the most vulnerable in society and that is why, despite Government cuts, we have maintained our already significant investment in tackling fuel poverty.

“I am delighted to be launching Wales’ new fuel poverty scheme, ‘Nest’ today. The new scheme is all about ensuring that help to tackle fuel poverty is targeted at those householders that need it most.

“It will deliver by  providing a wide range of advice and making homes across Wales much more energy efficient. This will help to reduce energy bills, increase the disposable incomes of those people who are fuel poor, and also help Wales to reduce its carbon emissions and meet its climate change targets.

“I hope it will make a real difference people across Wales who are more vulnerable to fuel poverty.”

Gary Wignall, Director of Service Delivery for British Gas Community Energy said:

“We are delighted to welcome the Minister to meet the teams who will provide vital advice to people who will benefit from the Welsh Assembly Government’s new fuel poverty scheme. The new scheme, called Nest, will provide a range of energy efficiency advice for people who are experiencing fuel poverty. We’ll be providing energy saving advice and measures to over 15,000 hard to reach and hard to treat homes over the next five years across all of Wales.”

Under the new scheme, all householders can receive advice on a range of issues, from energy efficiency to maximising income. Householders in receipt of means tested benefit that live in very energy inefficient homes ( EPC rating F or G) will also be eligible for an Assembly Government funded,  whole house energy improvement package which could include the instillation of renewable energy technologies or a new boiler.

In cases where applicants are considered to be particularly vulnerable or in a crisis, work to improve the energy efficiency of their homes will be fast tracked so that they can start to save money on fuel bills as quickly as possible.

The new fuel poverty scheme is one of the commitment’s of the Assembly Government Fuel Poverty Strategy, which was published in July 2010. The scheme sets out the actions the Assembly Government will take to tackle fuel poverty in Wales and as far as is reasonably practicable eradicate fuel poverty in all households in Wales by 2018.

Householders wanting to find out if they are eligible for support to make their homes much more energy efficient can access expert advice by calling the Nest Freephone number on 0800 512 012.

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Fuel poverty strategy

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