How we’re tackling fuel poverty head on: our new industry-leading advice line for people and families struggling to pay their bills this winter Oct 31, 2023

Don’t be fooled by the balmy autumn, a report last month by MPs on the Energy Security and Net Zero Committee warns that we're on the brink of a winter warmth crisis like never before.

Last winter, nearly 5,000 people in the UK died because they were living in cold, damp homes - an alarming 50 per cent increase from the previous winter. This year, the situation is likely to be worse still. Soaring energy debts, persistently high prices, and a lack of government support in England is putting more lives on the line. Factor in a protracted cost-of-living crisis and escalating interest rates, and many are teetering on the edge of financial breaking point.

The urgency of the situation is clear — we’re seeing unprecedented demands for our services, having dealt with a year’s worth of enquiries in just the last six months – and that’s before the winter period kicks in. Those record calls are coming from people struggling to cope with increasing bills and not knowing how to manage or where to turn.

This is an issue no one should have to face.

YES Energy Solutions has seen first-hand the struggles our communities endure. For more than 20 years, through the trials of financial fluctuations, the COVID-19 crisis, and the energy crunch, we’ve been here on the frontline working in our communities, helping families and individuals to make homes more efficient and sustainable, and bills more affordable. Working hand-in-hand with our valued funding and installation partners, we bring to life the shared vision of creating warmer, energy efficient homes for communities in need.

Crucially, as a Community Interest Company, our focus is squarely on the well-being of our communities rather than profits. Our work is funded through Government and Local Authority schemes, as well as energy companies schemes. Every action we take is centred around assisting our communities, families, and individuals – helping them to afford the energy they need to live in a cosy home this winter.

Launching the YES Warm Homes Initiative

We know fuel poverty isn't an isolated situation; it's intricately woven into the fabric of household budgets and well-being. The End Fuel Poverty Coalition aligns with our belief that ending fuel poverty means addressing poverty as a whole. At YES Energy Solutions, we're not just here to assist with bills or reduce energy use; we're here to help people make practical changes to improve their financial lives and well-being for the long-term.

Our YES Warm Homes Initiative stands as a testament to this mission. Crucially it goes further than just providing valuable energy advice; it's about helping people take control and stay in control. Our tailored help ensures everyone we help can make a positive change, supporting them to make small adjustments which helps them live comfortably while managing their energy costs for the long-term.

Why call it a Warm Homes Advice Line? Because we've been there—inside the homes of those we want to help. We've witnessed how national policy decisions and wider cost-of-living pressures can impact the ability to maintain a home and put food on the table. Simply put, it shouldn't be this way. Our approach is friendly, warm, drawing on two decades of community engagement.

Introducing the YES Warmer Homes Advice Line

At the heart of our latest initiative is the YES Warmer Homes Advice Line, a support line which provides practical solutions and expert advice to help people stay warm this winter and beyond. Right now, we’re helping more than 500 households each month through this service, and importantly, it’s completely free to access.

Anyone who calls our advice line will receive tailored advice and support that will make a real impact on their bills. Beyond this friendly support and practical advice, we also provide information about available funding options for people who are struggling, including guiding them to secure all the benefits they might be entitled to. We investigate what funding they may be eligible for – from loft insulation to a new boiler – and offer practical tips for easy changes or home improvements to help keep warm and save money.

And our commitment doesn't end with advice alone. We’re making a tangible difference right now by distributing free winter warm packs, including essential items and gadgets, offering immediate relief during colder months.

Funding partners: A supportive initiative for winter resilience

Our funding partners are the backbone of our Warmer Homes initiative. Our services are designed to put the customer first and to keep things simple – offering a one-stop-service to guide them through the landscape of support available. Through the YES Warmer Homes Advice Line, we can establish a connection between people seeking assistance and the funding opportunities offered by our partners.

This ensures a targeted approach, identifying and qualifying those in need, and directing resources toward those who require our support the most, marking the first significant stride in our collective journey toward positive change

Our skilled team, with our network of accredited installers, then plan, manage and deliver energy efficiency projects that have garnered recognition and awards. We consistently achieve results that benefit both individuals and communities.

For example, our project working with a variety of partners in Lincolnshire delivered 246 measures and resulted in annual bill savings of nearly £100,000 for the community, earning us the Large-Scale Project of the Year at the East Midlands Energy Efficiency Awards 2023.

Another success story is our North Yorkshire Home Efficiency Fund, where we partnered with both the North Yorkshire County Council and the local Borough and District Councils, winning Large Scale Project of the Year at the Yorkshire and Humberside Energy Efficiency Awards 2023, providing 340 energy efficiency measures and achieving annual bill savings of over £125,000.

By partnering with us, you're aligning your actions with a team that not only meets but exceeds expectations, delivering projects that make a significant impact.

ESG commitments and employee support in tough times

The YES Warmer Homes Energy Advice Line also presents a valuable opportunity for businesses to actively promote energy efficiency among their employees. Beyond the immediate advantages of warmer homes and more affordable bills, this initiative could be offered as an impactful employee benefit, as many employees also stand to benefit from the advice and support our schemes can offer Everyone can help take action on climate change by using energy in their homes wisely.

For businesses seeking employee support and aiming to meet their own ESG targets and wider corporate social responsibility goals, YES’ Advice Line provides an opportunity to encourage energy efficiency across a large workforce. If required, the Advice Line can be branded bespoke to each business, complete with a dedicated hotline number, dual-branded energy saver packs and gadgets to help people save money and stay warm.

Building a resilient, energy-efficient future

So, as winter approaches, YES Energy Solutions is dedicated to ensuring warm homes with affordable bills for as many people as possible. The YES Warmer Homes Advice Line is more than a seasonal initiative; it reflects our commitment to building a resilient, energy-efficient future.

Founded in 2000 as a division of Kirklees Council to drive a major energy efficiency programme, YES Energy Solutions has grown into an independent Community Interest Company, supporting customers across Great Britain and becoming a leader in the field. In 2022-23, across 34 schemes with the public and private sectors, we helped 5,513 customers to directly save more than £2.7 million each year from their energy costs. We look set to double those volumes this year, empowering households to take control of their energy use amidst an escalating energy crisis while staying true to our core values. And now, as we continue to evolve and grow, YES Energy Solutions remains steadfast in its commitment to shaping a sustainable and energy-efficient future for communities nationwide.

We want to hear from you:

• Call us if you think your employees can benefit from our advice line, we can tailor our service around your company and staff needs, ESG priorities and branding.

• If you’re an organisation or local authority with funding opportunities, please give us a call to explore how we may be able to work together.

Please share this article across your networks and get our free advice line number to those who need it most this winter.

We’re here to help, everyone. Freephone 03301 359 110 or text ADVICE to 82228.

Sources: End Fuel Poverty Coalition

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