News | Newyddion

Warm Wales senior duo set to hand over the fuel poverty baton

Friday, October 13th, 2017

Warm Wales~Cymru Gynnes has announced that CEO, Craig Anderson and Partnerships Consultant, Helen Perkins are retiring at the end of the year.

Warm Wales~Cymru Gynnes CEO Craig, and Partnerships Consultant Helen, are long-standing and highly respected members of the Warm Wales team and both will be retiring at the end of 2017. Craig has clocked up 7 years with the fuel poverty Community Interest Company and Helen 13 years, since the company inception in 2004

Craig Anderson & Helen Perkins of Warm Wales

Warm Wales Board Chairman, Professor Phil Jones paid tribute to the contribution made by the two.

“Our work in helping reduce fuel poverty has now delivered over £50m of energy saving benefits to over 60,000 homes. Helen’s work in delivering the Fuel Poor Gas Network Extension Scheme has been exemplary and the year-on-year benefits to vulnerable households through connections to gas has added up to over £4m of annual cost savings. Craig’s leadership of the work on Warm Homes Arbed work and Solcer Deep Retrofit has established Warm Wales deserved national reputation as leading experts in project managing Retrofit.”

Board member, Steve Edwards, a Director with Wales & West Utilities added. “The Board were delighted to hear that Warm Wales has been awarded Energy Consultant of the Year for work under the Energy Efficiency & Healthy Homes 2017 Awards – a very fitting accolade for the dedication and hard work undertaken by staff and Craig and Helen in particular “. “The national award recognised the benefits of the powerful FRESH Vulnerability Mapping Tool and the deployment of the Community Energy Champions programme to work with local agencies. The judges were particularly impressed with the way FRESH Vulnerability Maps strengthen the work of Local Authority housing services, helping them work hand-in-hand with health and social services.

Professor Jones added. ‘With the levels of fuel poverty still badly affecting the health of over 300,000 households in Wales the hunt is now on for replacement staff. The recruitment campaign will be seeking those with passion and determination to keep delivering these vital services.”

Warm Wales’s success at Regional Awards event – 2017

Friday, March 10th, 2017

Warm Wales and partner organisations – Flintshire County Council and Cardiff and Vale Care &Repair – had a very successful night at the recent ‘Energy Efficiency & Healthy Homes Regional Awards’ held in Cardiff. The tally of awards included :-
WINNER Energy Consultant – Warm Wales Cymru Gynnes CBC
COMMENDED Small Scale Project – Warm Wales, Warm Schools Project
COMMENDED Council or Local Authority – Flintshire County Council
HIGHLY COMMENDED Vulnerable Customer Support – Cardiff and Vale Care & Repair.

Craig Anderson, CEO Warm Wales said:
“We are delighted to receive these awards which reflect the achievements we have all brought about by joining together to focus on shared goals. Working together has helped us to make the most of our limited budgets and hard pressed staff at a time when the need for support for vulnerable people is escalating. It is a reward for the hard work, effort, determination and professional commitment to do things better with less resource, which is much appreciated by all the organisations concerned. We will be entering the national event to publicise the good practice we have demonstrated to a wider audience, outside Wales. I would like to thank Wales & West Utilities for providing the initial sponsorship to fund the work.”
This award event has grown in significance and prestige in a few short years. Regional events are held in eleven areas throughout the UK culminating in an annual, national final. The awards were established to give the fuel poverty sector a way of recognizing and celebrating the achievements, innovation and ethical business practice of many small and medium sized companies dedicated to improving the lives of the most vulnerable households.

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Craig Anderson, CEO Warm Wales (Left) receives the WINNER – Regional Energy Consultant of the Year award from sponsor Paul Williams of Soltherm EWI Wales (Right).

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Jonathan Cosson, Projects Director, Warm Wales (Right), receives the COMMENDED – Regional Small Scale Project award from sponsor Heiztechnik for the Warm Schools project.

Switching Energy Supplier catches on in Wales

Wednesday, March 1st, 2017

It has taken some time for changing energy company to become as popular in Wales as it is in the rest of the Great Britain.  OFGEM has just released 2016 figures which show that more people in Wales changed their gas and/or electricity supplier than in the rest of the country.  586,000 Welsh energy accounts were ‘switched’ which amounts to 17% of accounts versus 15.8% overall in GB.  This is good news for bill payers in Wales who should find that they save over £200 per year on their fuel bills.  142,000 more Welsh households made the move in 2016 giving a dramatic increase in activity of 32% over figures for 2015.  This shows a big change in the energy buying habits  of Welsh households indicating that consumers are becoming more cost conscious and pro-active.  Previously, Welsh consumers had a reputation for staying loyal to their old energy providers and consequently, remained on the ‘standard variable tariff’ and missed out on savings and offers claimed by others.  Switching has never been easier and should now take just 3 weeks, including the 14 day ‘cooling off’ period.  Another sign that consumers are gaining more confidence in using the competitive market is that more people, around 50% of those who ‘switch’  are choosing to buy their energy from medium and smaller supply companies, moving away from the ‘Big Six’.

Wales Fuel Poverty Reduction Hubs success at National Energy Efficiency Awards

Sunday, September 25th, 2016

Flintshire and Cardiff Councils work in leading fuel poverty reduction in Wales was a runner up at the National Energy Efficiency and Retrofit awards held in Birmingham last Friday. The partnerships were nominated by Warm Wales Community Interest Company under the large project category and were up against stiff national competition from 36 major projects.

Craig Anderson, CEO of Warm Wales said:

Craig Anderson & Prof Phil Jones at AwardsThe new fuel poverty reduction hubs partnerships are a great example of how joint resources can help the most needy fuel poor households. The partnership hubs concept is completely in alignment with the desire of the Energy Regulator, Ofgem, to direct ECO grant resources towards Local Council’s in identifying the highest priority cases and meets the key indicators in the NICE
Clinical Excellence Guidelines.

Flintshire County Council Cabinet Member for the Environment, Councillor Bernie Attridge, said:

We are delighted to have the Fuel Poverty Reduction Hubs initiative recognised at these national awards . Our work in Wales, with colleagues at Cardiff Council and our partners, on fostering Fuel Poverty Reduction Hubs shows a new determination in tackling the silent killer of Fuel Poverty. Joining forces under the Healthy Homes Healthy People initiative allows us to share best practise, creating more effective action plans. These are harnessing the skills of our in-house Domestic Energy and Environmental Health Teams with North East Wales Care & Repair Charity. It also aligns the work of fuel poverty community interest company Warm Wales ~ Cymru Gynnes alongside the National Energy Action, Warm and Healthy Homes Fund and Welsh Government Programmes.

City of Cardiff Council Cabinet Member for Transport, Planning and Sustainability, Councillor Ramesh Patel, said:

Sharing best practice across Wales helps us all work more effectively. We are working to change our focus from reactive services to proactive targeting of the most needy households, using the latest data mapping technique, FRESH which is pioneered by Warm Wales CIC and Cardiff University. This powerful mapping tool is highlighting areas where poor health is made worse by high levels of damp cold-hazard homes and enables us to identify and then help those most in need.

Commenting on the national recognition, Steven Edwards, Wales & West Utilities Director of Regulation and Commercial said:

Local authorities are best placed to identify the needs of their residents so we’re delighted that this partnership working has been recognised as helping those most in need. The Fuel Poverty Reduction hubs also look at the impact that fuel poverty can have on people’s health and well-being to try and reduce demand on hard pressed NHS and social services”.“We’re now continuing our work with local authorities, as well as with colleagues in the electricity and water industries to establish local Priority Service Registers to allow us to work more effectively alongside councils to make sure that the households living in fuel poverty get the help they need.

Notes:

1. The National Energy Efficiency and Retrofit Awards : is the culmination of Regional best practice awards to encourage excellence in the delivery of energy services in upgrading homes. The judging panel comprises industry experts and is completely independent. The event organisers have announced that next years awards will be called the Energy Efficiency & Healthy Homes Awards – reflecting an increasing emphasis on health.

2. Wales Fuel Poverty Reduction Partnerships : These work as area-based regional ‘Hubs’ . They are based on the previous Affordable Warmth Partnerships but with in-depth research and fully integrated working. The North Wales Hub comprises Flintshire County Council ( Lead Authority ) , with North East Care & Repair , North Wales Energy Efficiency Advice Centre and Warm Wales CIC. The South Wales Hub comprises Cardiff Council , with Cardiff and Vale Care & Repair, Warm Wales CIC and Step Change debt advice centre. Both Hubs are supported by Citizens Advice and NEA Cymru.

3. Ofgem is the National Energy Regulator : It controls the services provided by Energy Suppliers and the Gas and Electricity Distribution Utility Companies. They also control the Energy Company Obligation grant scheme which requires the larger Energy Companies to distribute ECO grant in return for saving carbon. ECO is raised on all domestic fuel bills and constitutes approximately 4% of fuel energy bills currently . ECO comprises a fund of £840m reduced from a 2013 value of £1300m and scheduled to decrease to £640 next year. It remains a significant grant source and at current rates comprises between 10% and 20% of a project cost.

4. City & County Councils: Are elected local bodies delivering a wide range of local services, part funded by Council Tax raised locally. Councils have a statutory obligation to integrate services with local NHS services .The particular services involved here are Environmental Health, Housing Energy and Housing strategy.

5. Care & Repair Charities : There are a network of 11 locally based C&R Charities in Wales, typically covering 2 local authority areas. Care & Repair Cymru are the national co-ordinating body. Their services are part funded by Welsh Government and comprise home safety advice for the over 60’s , covering income/debt, slips, trips, falls advice plus disabled adaptions and home condition works including insulation and heating.

6. Warm Wales ~ Cymru Gynnes CIC: WW was the first Community Interest Company set up in the UK in 2004 to tackle fuel poverty. The company operates on an ethical not-for-profit basis and has attracted £58m of measures to help 60,000 homes. The WW operational area mirrors Wales & West Utilities as they administer the fuel poor gas network expansion scheme. This is delivered in SW England through their sister company Integrated Energy Services.

7. Wales & West Utilities Ltd: Is the Gas Distribution Network Operator, regulated by Ofgem. WWU provides residential and commercial gas supplies throughout all of Wales and South West England . Under the Fuel poor Network Extension Scheme, WWU is obligated by Ofgem to deliver new gas connections to qualifying fuel poor households

8. National Energy Action: is the main Fuel Poverty Charity in the England Wales and N.Ireland. In Scotland Fuel Poverty work is overseen by Energy Action Scotland, a sister company of NEA. NEA operates the Warm and Healthy Homes Fund to focus on grant assistance ( equivalent to ECO ) helping vulnerable fuel poor households also affected by health conditions.

9. NHS NICE Clinical Guidelines : The National Instute for Health and Care Excellence has produced guidelines to help the NHS and others to organise services which best help those suffering from cold-related illnesses

10. Press Contact : Any queries regarding this Press Release should be directed to : Craig Anderson on 07793369169 or via craig.anderson@warmwales.org.uk

EXPENSIVE TO BE POOR – Warm Wales calls for action to switch vulnerable people from very expensive pre payment tariffs

Wednesday, February 10th, 2016

Expensive to be Poor – £300m extra Fuel Bill for Welsh Households
Recent analysis by community interest company Warm Wales~Cymru Gynnes,
shows that 300,000 households in Wales on prepayment meters will each be
paying on average around £200 per year more compared to direct debit energy
tariffs – amounting to £300 million of extra energy charging over the 5 year life of
the next Welsh Government.
“Cold is the ‘silent killer’, with almost 2500 avoidable excess winter deaths
predicted over the next 5 years in Wales. That compares with around 600
projected road deaths over the same period ” said Warm Wales CEO, Craig
Anderson. “Cold and damp blights the health of fuel poor households every year
in Wales. These very expensive Pre Payment charging rates make it hard for
vulnerable households to heat their homes, worsening their health conditions- a
vicious cycle we are determined to break.” said Mr Anderson
Research undertaken by both Citizens Advice and National Energy Action shows
that a significant number of these households are in vulnerable groups, such as
the elderly on pensions, those with health limiting conditions and families on
benefits with children. “This is a major public health challenge and something that
we are calling politicians of all parties to do something about” said Mr Anderson.
Warm Wales is calling for a new support programme to help vulnerable residents
switch from pre-payment charging, which can be 30% more expensive than
direct debit energy tariffs. “We are in danger of sleepwalking towards a Public
Health crisis where our NHS and Social Services are overwhelmed. Let’s start
the wake up call with switching vulnerable households away from these very
expensive Pre Payment energy tariffs – keeping them healthy in warm and safe
homes” said Mr Anderson.
Energy & Sustainability Manager at Community Housing Cymru (CHC), Shea
Jones added his backing to the need for better energy tariffs, pointing to the new
focus on creating trusted local energy companies backed by housing
associations and local authorities “ Recent examples such as Our Power in
Scotland, set up with £2.5m of Scottish Government investment, are showing this
can be done. Other examples are Robin Hood Energy backed by Nottingham
City Council and OVO Energy partnering with East Cheshire Council.
CHC wants to play an active part in helping residents access good local energy
deals from trusted sources” said Mr Jones.
The issue of high energy costs will be highlighted this Thursday at the Fuel
Poverty Conference in Cardiff, being organised by National Energy Action Cymru
and sponsored by Wales and West Utilities.

Note to Editors:
1. The Welsh Fuel Poverty Conference is held on Thursday, 11th February
2016 at Cardiff City Hall.
2. In 2012 it was estimated that Fuel Poverty in Wales affects 386,000
households. Fuel Poverty is defined as households expending more than 10% of
their income on energy. Almost 80,000 of those affected spend 20% of their
income on energy and are in severe fuel poverty.
3. Warm Wales~ Cymru Gynnes, based in Margam, Port Talbot was the first
UK Community Interest Company created in 2004, as the ‘trusted intermediary’
not-for-profit company working with local councils to specifically tackle the issue
of fuel poverty (operating in Wales and South West England – there as Integrated
Energy Services Ltd) – since when 60,000 homes have benefitted from energy
saving measures valued at £58m. Warm Wales is a partner of National Energy
Action
4. Wales and West Utilities are the regional gas distribution network
company – licensed and regulated by OFGEM. Warm Wales, as Strategic Fuel
Poor Partner of WWU, operate the fuel poor gas connection voucher scheme,
across Wales and SW England to reduce the cost of connection to gas – which is
normally the lowest cost fuel.
5. CHC Group (The Community Housing Cymru Group) is the representative
body for housing associations and community mutuals in Wales, which are all
not-for profit organisations. CHC members provide over 153,000 homes and
related housing services across Wales. In 2010, CHC formed a group structure
with Care & Repair Cymru and CREW Regeneration Wales in order to jointly
champion not-for-profit housing, care and regeneration.
6. Our Power Community Benefit Society is a Scottish-based membership
organisation of Social Landlords, Local Authorities and community-controlled
organisations. It aims to challenge the status quo of the energy generation and
supply market to help reduce household energy bills and increase community
resilience to fuel poverty. Our Power is a new independent energy supply
company, the first in the UK operating on a non-profit distributing basis and plans
to be selling heat and power to tenants in 200,000 homes across Scotland by
2020. Our Power Energy, a subsidiary of Our Power Community Benefit Society,
has been founded by 35 housing associations and local authorities. The
company entered the market at the end of 2015 as an Ofgem licensed supplier of
gas and electricity to provide lower cost energy to the tenants communities of its
member organisations. It expects to save its members up to ten per cent on their
household utility bills compared to standard commercial tariffs. Over the next five
years, this could see up to £11 million of savings for households in some of the
most disadvantaged communities across Scotland. Our Power, a living wage
employer, is backed by £2.5 million from the Scottish Government and another
£1 million from Social Investment Scotland, both in the form of repayable loans.
In the future, Our Power hopes to develop renewable energy projects as part of
its business for the benefit of local communities.
7. National Energy Action is the leading UK Charity campaigning to reduce
fuel poverty, established for over 30 years. NEA Cymru is the operational division
in Wales.
8. Queries regarding this press release should be directed to Craig
Anderson, CEO of Warm Wales via craig.anderson@warmwales.org.uk
or via
0779 336 9169.

Lifetime Achievement Award for Professor Phillip Jones

Monday, December 14th, 2015

Phil-Jones-2015-570x320
Cardiff University have awarded this year’s Lifetime Achievement Award to the Welsh School of Architecture’s Professor Phil Jones. Phil has dedicated his working life to Cardiff University, following his degree and PhD at the University, he has worked at the Welsh School of Architecture where he progressed from research demonstrator to Head of School. Whilst Head of School for ten years the School doubled in size, was frequently rated the top School of Architecture in the UK and attracted high quality staff and students. Through many roles Phil has influenced practice including being a member of the UK Government Building Regulation Advisory Committee (BRAC) and Welsh Government’s first Chair of its Building Regulation Advisory Committee to produce its first set of building regulations. He has also used his technical skill to provide environmental consultancy for over 50 buildings in the UK and internationally. He also chairs the Community Interest Company, Warm Wales, which installs energy saving measures in fuel poor housing in Wales. Phil is frequently invited to lecture internationally, and has spoken at events in China, USA, Malaysia, India, Middle East and Europe. He is currently a Distinguished Visiting Research Professor at Hong Kong University, a Master Academic Advisor at Tianjin University, and an Adviser to the Building Research Institute in Shenzhen. The Low Carbon Research Institute (LCRI) was initiated and is chaired by Phil. Established in 2008, it involves a consortium of six Universities in Wales, representing energy research across a broad range of subjects. Over £80 million research funding has been obtained through this programme, which has involved over 130 researchers. Phil also recently led a small team of staff at the School who designed and built the low carbon replicable Solcer House which has recently won the Sustainability Award at the Cardiff University Innovation and Impact Awards 2015.

Success for Warm Wales at The Green Deal and Eco Awards

Wednesday, March 11th, 2015

Warm Wales saw great success at this year’s regional Green Deal and ECO awards held in Cardiff on March 3rd. Warm Wales came away with 1st place in the Regional Energy Efficiency Champion of the Year category, in recognition of the dedicated work to tackle fuel poverty undertaken by CEO, Craig Anderson.    A partnership project delivered by Warm Wales, Cardiff University and GB-Sol Consortium received the 2nd place award for Regional Project of the Year.  We also sponsored the Regional Insulation & Fabric Installer of the Year award. (more…)

10th Anniversary – Warm Wales celebrates

Friday, February 6th, 2015

Warm Wales was the first Community Interest Company (CIC) to be established in the UK to tackle Fuel Poverty and the first CIC to open for business in Wales. The company celebrated 10 years of success with a reception at seat of Welsh Government in Cardiff, The Senedd, in October 2014.

Download a pdf of the Warm Wales 10th Anniversary Brochure

Fuel Poor Network Extension Scheme Consultation

Wednesday, September 17th, 2014

Helen Perkins, projects director at Warm Wales, explains that the Office of Gas and Electricity Markets, or Ofgem, is a non-ministerial government body, and an independent National Regulation Authority. Ofgem’s principal function is to protect the interests of all electricity and gas consumers in the UK. This is done a number of ways, including regulating costs and prices of set out by major energy suppliers, as well as regulating and delivering government schemes.

One of these schemes that Ofgem oversee is the Fuel Poor Network Extension Scheme. (more…)

Fuel Poverty News

Wednesday, September 17th, 2014

To find out more about fuel poverty in Wales, you can visit the Warm Wales website here for information.

Fuel poverty is a constant problem in modern Britain, and it affects the lives of over 350,000 people in Wales. People who struggle to keep their homes warm are often on low incomes, in rural areas, not connected to mains gas, or do not live in energy efficient homes, and can be the most vulnerable people in our communities. Keeping warm, and keeping the house warm for your family, is something that a lot of people take for granted, but there are thousands of people across the country struggling to do just that.

A householder in Wales is considered to be in fuel poverty if they need to spend 10% or more of their income on energy costs, and they are in severe fuel poverty if they need to spend 20% or more of their income on these costs. It is estimated that 31% of social housing tenants in the region live in fuel poverty; that’s approximately 70,000 people.

The Welsh Government is committed to reducing the number of people living in fuel poverty each year, and there are a number of different initiatives set up across Wales, Scotland, and England aimed at doing this, such as HEEPS in Scotland, and NEST in Wales. (more…)