Energy safeguarding and CO safety partnership

Citizens Advice England and Wales

Providing a single point of contact for independent and bespoke support to keep a safe and warm home for less

Our project at a glance

  • Participating GDNs: Northern Gas Networks, SGN and Wales & West Utilities
  • Strategic priority area: Fuel poverty and affordability
  • Support target: 7,750 households per year
  • Duration: April 2022 to March 2026
  • Investment: £2,505,388 over three years
  • Forecast SROI: £5.54

I didn't even know that some of this help was available. The information about carbon monoxide saved my life!

Citizens Advice client

Why we’re working together

Citizens Advice provides free and independent advice to millions of people in England and Wales each year, over the phone and in person. Through its Energy Advice Programme, the charity helps vulnerable people access expert energy advice, get better energy deals and improve their household income.

We’re proudly leading a collaborative energy safeguarding programme with the other gas networks that expand on the charity’s existing service to help more low-income households at a time of exceptionally high demand.

Through our partnership, we’re also able to address a knowledge and skills gap within the organisation to enable its energy advisers to raise awareness of the dangers of carbon monoxide.

Following the success of our initial 15-month pilot, we have now extended this programme through to March 2026. Over the duration of our pilot programme, we supported 20,488 clients and achieved an income gain of £7,056,535 for these households. Our expanded collaborative partnership sees us build greater capacity for energy safeguarding of vulnerable people across England and Wales.

Project objectives

  • Increasing the capacity of the Citizens Advice Energy Advice Programme to support more households with in-depth advice
  • Delivering tailored frontline worker CO safety training for Citizens Advice advisers
  • Raising awareness of CO safety among Citizens Advice clients
  • Registering eligible households for the Priority Services Register

How we’re working together

One-to-one energy advice

Through one-on-one sessions, Citizens Advice advisers help households maintain a safe and warm home for less. They provide information on how to save energy and be an active energy consumer, as well as carry out benefit checks to ensure households are receiving appropriate benefits and grants based on their individual circumstances.

We’ve also equipped the charity’s energy advisers with resources that enable them to provide greater support to households in crisis, including referrals for food or fuel vouchers.

Carbon monoxide awareness sessions

Our CO awareness sessions cover annual appliance testing, owning and maintaining a CO alarm, how to identify signs and symptoms of CO, and what to do if you suspect carbon monoxide is present in your home.

CO safety and energy efficiency advice packs

We’re providing energy and CO safety packs for households most in need and at higher risk of CO harm. The pack contains a CO alarm, CO safety information, a room thermometer card and an energy-saving advice leaflet.

CO training for Citizens Advice advisers

We’re supporting Citizens Advice to develop CO awareness training for all its frontline advisers nationwide through our partnership with Gas Safe Charity. As a result, we’re able to protect people from CO harm far beyond the remit of our collaborative programme.

Additional winter funding

The partnership has had such a positive impact on vulnerable households from the outset of the pilot that we increased our funding for winter 2022/23 to facilitate more energy advice sessions, as did Wales & West Utilities.

Our additional training enabled advisers to provide in-person CO awareness sessions at 79 local Citizens Advice hubs across England and Wales. This resulted in more than 1,930 additional households receiving in-depth energy advice sessions and these households also received CO safety information wherever possible.

How to get involved

Accessing the Energy Advice Programme

If you live in England or Wales and are struggling with an energy issue, you can find energy information on the Citizens Advice website or you can speak to an energy adviser by calling the Citizens Advice consumer helpline directly on 0808 223 1133.

Households in Scotland

We also have a project with Citizens Advice Scotland to support vulnerable households in our Scotland network area. For more information about that project, please visit our Citizens Advice Scotland programme page.

Your approach to co-designing services ensures we are truly tackling the need for clients during the cost-of-living crisis. Our strategic partnership is vital to the sustainability of our services long term and we are extremely proud to work in partnership with the GDNs.

David Gill

Utilities Partnership Manager, Citizens Advice