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Residents in North Devon can now access home energy advice through their district council, thanks to a new advice service and webpage dedicated to home energy efficiency.

North Devon Council launched a home energy advice service at the end of 2021, together with local community energy company 361 Energy, to help those most at risk of fuel poverty. 

361 Energy was commissioned by the council to provide a home energy advice service that's tailored to each customer. The service includes (but is not limited to) energy saving tips, support to help manage energy debt, guidance on using heating systems efficiently, help to access grants for energy efficiency improvements, like loft insulation. Also included are free energy saving measures like LED lightbulbs, draught proofing for doors and windows and radiator reflectors for each household. 

Since October 2021, 361 Energy have delivered potential financial benefits of just over £10,000 to households who have received energy advice through this service. 

Designed to help 200 households per year, the home energy advice service is targeted at residents who need more support and are most at risk of fuel poverty, in the following priority order:

  • residents who have applied for a Disabled Facilities Grant
  • homeless applicants who have been supported to move into private rented accommodation
  • residents in receipt of state benefits in relation to Affordable Warmth Criteria
  • residents that meet the criteria in North Devon Council’s Statement of Intent
  • residents with a low household income that live in a property with high running costs (this can be determined via a fuel poverty assessment)

The council's new webpage details the help currently available across the district, including the financial support that can be accessed. It is aimed at home owners, landlords and tenants alike.

Leader of North Devon Council, Councillor David Worden says: "It has never been so important for us all to reduce our home energy costs and protect the environment. There is continuing uncertainty in the global energy market and another increase in energy costs is likely in April. We are committed to reducing the number of households who are struggling with their fuel costs and to enabling an increase in the take-up of renewables like solar PV.

"Our work alongside 361 Energy, and our newly launched energy efficiency webpage are both services that will greatly assist many residents who are struggling with fuel costs and looking to make improvements to their energy efficiency. We hope that our new webpage will give residents the peace of mind that the companies listed have been checked and meet all the necessary standards."

Chair of 361 Community Energy, Jon Gething says: "361 Community Energy has been delivering home energy advice to the residents of North Devon since 2013 and we are delighted to be working with North Devon Council to help more people with their energy costs. The rising costs of food and other essentials, the dramatic increase in energy prices, and the impending National Insurance tax rise will place even more pressure on family incomes in North Devon. This partnership with NDC will provide vital support and allow 361Community Energy to expand its energy advice service."

The council says it will continue to build a range of services to help the district's residents overcome and avoid fuel poverty into the future. 

The government has announced financial assistance for households to alleviate the impact of the increase in the energy price cap due April 2022. Residents who have concerns about energy bills, should contact their supplier to discuss personal circumstances, as they may be able to offer payment options.   

Residents on a prepayment meter who are struggling with fuel costs can contact Rural Devon Citizen's Advice Bureau as they have received funding the from the Government’s Household Support fund to help Devon residents.  The scheme runs until March 2022.

More information about 361 Energy is available on their website 361energy.org.