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by Sean Duffy, the Wise Group
08 November 2021
Associate Feature: The missing ingredient in the fuel poverty mix

Associate Feature: The missing ingredient in the fuel poverty mix

Cold, sore, isolated, embarrassed, hungry, scared … some of the words our customers use to describe how choosing to disconnect their energy supply makes them feel.
Our energy mentors at the Wise Group have seen increasing numbers of householdsat risk of self-disconnection for a variety of reasons, with some going on to cut their electricity and heating in a bid to make ends meet. These households are hidden from the traditional ‘in debt’ description of the ‘vulnerable customer’ because they have chosen to disconnect.

Control the controllable
During COVID we have all changed our behaviour to ‘control the controllable’. As the turbulence in the energy market continues, we know that disconnection from energy supply exacerbates physical and mental health problems. If behavioural change is about helping people take control, are we doing enough?

Self-raising flour
Energy Efficiency Frameworks have been established to upgrade the fabric of buildings. This structural support all too often misses the essential ingredient of behaviour change required to make a complete cake.

Whilst structural initiatives enable energy mentors to resolve a specific point of energy crisis, wider energy advice can guide households to make sustainable behavioural change, mixing in the self-raising flour necessary for managing future energy use.

Our mentors give people the recipe to get unstuck, then reconnect and take control. Local authorities and other actors must recognise the potential positive social, environmental and economic impacts of behaviour change when investing to tackle fuel poverty. With COP26 due to take place on the doorsteps of the disconnected, the most vulnerable must understand that they have an element of control in their energy use, and a stake in it’s future.

Sean Duffy is CEO of the Wise Group, a leading social enterprise, working to lift people out of poverty across the UK through a mentoring approach. Those seeking fuel poverty mentoring support should call 0800 092 9002 or contact buildingbridges@thewisegroup.co.uk

This article was sponsored by the Wise Group.

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