Image Source: John Highfield
Steve Silverwood of Planet First Energy

Member Article

Planet First Energy advice centre offers help with rising fuel costs

More than six million people across the UK are now living in fuel poverty, with the Sheffield region cited as one of the worst affected parts of the country.


Throughout the city, it is believed that as many as 20 per cent of people are struggling to heat their homes and pay their fuel bills.


But a new project being launched by Dronfield-based company Planet First Energy is aiming to offer some free advice and support to householders who fear there is no alternative to simply turning the heat off and living with the cold.


Planet First Energy is a social enterprise that was launched to help businesses meet their environmental targets, and support their communities, while saving money on energy.


The company reinvests the profits gained through its social enterprise into renewable energy projects and charities.


And on February 22, it will launch its Energy Advice Centre, the first in a series of free drop-in sessions for anybody needing assistance with the best ways to tackle rising gas and electricity bills.


“When people are making a choice between heating and eating in 2024 we need to be doing something,” said Planet First Energy Managing Director Steve Silverwood.


“There were 10,000 deaths related to fuel poverty last year, which is 10,000 too many and that is just one of the statistics that told us we had to take action and use our expertise and knowledge of the energy industry to help people who feel there is no alternative to being cold.”


The advice session - which runs from 10am to 4pm at the Planet Energy Centre in Dronfield Court, Civic Centre, Dronfield, offer advice on a range of topics including accessing benefits, switching suppliers, billing and debt issues, improving energy efficiency and accessing funding for energy saving home improvements.


A team of 15 fully-trained volunteers from the Planet First Energy team will be on hand throughout the day to offer assistance either in person, on the phone or via video link.


“Fuel poverty is a complex area that people don’t always understand and I think there are more people struggling with it than we know,” said Steve.


“Yet there is something like £45 million in unclaimed support from the government that people are simply unaware of or don’t know how to access, money for things like new boilers, insulation and double glazing, all things that can help increase a home’s energy efficiency and help bring bills down.”


Following the February 22 launch, Planet First Energy will be hosting free sessions on the third Thursday of every month, with the aim of seeing the project quickly expanding.


“Our ultimate vision would be that we could set up our free advice sessions in every city of the UK,” said Steve.


“There are so many people need this level of advice and we are very happy to help them access any support that is available.


“We’ll also happily talk to any businesses that are feeling the impact of rising fuel charges too - it’s the same methodology we use when talking to householders and again, business owners might be surprised to discover what can be done to support them.”

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by John Highfield .

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