Miss F gets support from Energycarers and Hardship fund
Miss F is 42 and has bipolar disorder. She lives alone in her council-owned bungalow in Bellshill. Her community psychiatric nurse (CPN) first contacted us on her behalf about debt that Miss F had built up on her energy bills (approx. £700). We gained permission from Miss F to discuss her details with the CPN on her behalf, and made a referral for an Energycarers home visit. Our Energycares service is available for people whose health might make it difficult for them to contact us directly by phone to get advice. Due to Miss F’s complex mental health needs, the CPN requested that two advisors attend.
On arrival to the property, Miss F was anxious and confused, but both Energycarers provided reassurance and quickly built rapport with her, helping to gain trust and agree the best way forward.
Due to Miss F’s health, the advisors advised that she could apply to a hardship grant to clear her debt and supported her to submit an application.
Next, they suggested some simple changes she could make around the house to reduce her energy bills, including advice on how to correctly use her heating controls. Miss F was unaware that an electric fan heater in her kitchen was expensive to run and had been using it on a regular basis.
We then contacted her energy supplier British Gas to add her to their Priority Service Register – a free service provided by energy suppliers and network operators to identify and help customers requiring additional support. New payment cards were also requested to ensure Miss F would be paying the correct amount each month to cover her future bills.
We also submitted the hardship grant application and contacted North Lanarkshire Council who agreed to remove the expensive electric fan from Miss F’s kitchen and install a brand new radiator.
The Energycarer was delighted to call Miss F a few weeks later to advise her grant application had been approved and that her outstanding debt would now be cleared. Miss F said she felt relieved and “very grateful” for all the support she had received.
Thanks to the efforts of both Energycarers, Miss F is now fully equipped with new knowledge that will help her stay in control of her future energy bills and peace of mind knowing she can get extra help from her supplier, whenever she needs it.