Picture 50 year old woman case study


Cold Home in Fuel Poverty

Debbie (not her real name), a 50 year old woman who lives on her own in Brighton, has seen her situation in life improve dramatically thanks to BHESCo’s Home Energy Assessment service.

Debbie has Fibromyalgia so walks with the aid of a cane. She also suffers from mental health issues surrounding a past trauma so she is unable to work. She receives housing benefits and lives in a flat owned by a private landlord. Her past trauma has impacted her ability to trust anyone that, among other reasons, has meant she hadn’t turned her heating on for five years.

Having met BHESCo during one of our community outreach events with the Big Energy Saving Network, she asked if we could conduct an energy survey of her home as part of our new Energy Saving Service available to homes and businesses.  The energy advisor noted immediately that the house was filled with mould, covering every room like a sheet of wallpaper. The report also found a leak from her toilet that seeped damp throughout the flat and all the household’s heat came from two portable electric heaters as the old boiler was broken.

mould-condensation-brighton-sussexThe BHESCo Energy Assessment advisors were able to liaise with the resident’s landlord on her behalf to stop the leak immediately and install a new boiler for her. The advisors were trusted by Debbie to act as her representative with the energy supplier and reinstated a credit agreement for her gas as well as organising a cleaning crew to clear out all the mould from the flat. Most importantly having developed a relationship with her, BHESCo’s advisors taught Debbie about energy consumption from her electric fan heater, how to reduce her bills and finally managed to convince her to turn on her heating.

This assessment, and a few minor changes to the household meant that Debbie’s living conditions were vastly improved. BHESCo’s advisors also allowed her to improve her relationship with her landlord and have given her more comfort with her energy supplier.  As a result, she feels more comfortable, is happier and is living in a healthier environment now.

Jack Dangerfield, a BHESCo Energy Savings advisor said: “It’s so rewarding to be able to make a difference to someone’s life like this. The work we do is all about making changes to a person’s situation whether it’s saving them energy, money or time and hopefully, as in the case of this lady, they’ll be able to focus on other aspects of their lives afterwards.”

BHESCo is a social enterprise created to help consumers lower their energy costs by empowering individuals to take more control of their energy supply. For more information visit www.bhesco.co.uk/contact/  or call 01273 766671.


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