Northern Powergrid, the company responsible for the electricity distribution network that powers everyday life for more than 8 million customers across the North East, Yorkshire and northern Lincolnshire, has partnered with the Government sponsored MoneyHelper to support local people who may be facing money worries.
The ongoing pandemic continues to challenge some customers’ personal and financial situations. Whilst Northern Powergrid’s network related charges on customers’ bills from their chosen supplier have remained unchanged at around 23p a day for the average domestic customer, the network operator is aware that many customers may have had to use more electricity since the pandemic started or their personal or employment circumstances may have changed making it harder to cover everyday household costs.
As part of the partnership and its commitment to being a force for good, the electricity network operator is sharing with customers access to free and independent support services. Through the partnership with MoneyHelper customers can access The Money Adviser Network which helps customers with problem debts to access telephone or online debt advice support.
Customers can choose from an immediate call back, scheduled call back or a digital debt advice referral. They can also access a Money Navigator Tool – a simple online tool that can help customers find guidance if their finances have been impacted by the pandemic. By answering a series of questions that take just 30 seconds, the tool can show customers what financial matters they should consider for their circumstances and direct them to specialist third party advice that may help with their problems.
Catherine Harris, Northern Powergrid’s Consumer Vulnerability Manager, said: “Throughout the pandemic we have continued to power peoples’ lives – but we know that being a force for good also goes beyond our network of power lines and underground cables.
“We hope this partnership will help local people in the communities we serve when they need it most. By helping people access MoneyHelper services our customers can get vital support from expert, independent advisers who can help them understand their financial situation, create a personalised budget, and draw up a practical action plan to help them move forward.
“We are also directly sharing via email details of the partnership with more than 300,000 of our customers who are part of our free Priority Services Membership which offers additional advice and support to customers who may be more vulnerable in a power cut due to their medical or personal circumstances. We hope that more customers will use and benefit from this partnership with MoneyHelper in the months ahead.”
Kevin Shaw, Senior Creditor Manager at The Money & Pensions Service, the body which runs MoneyHelper, said: “Our UK Strategy for Financial Wellbeing includes an ambitious target to engage an additional two million people with debt advice by 2030. The Money Adviser Network simplifies how organisations refer customers in financial difficulty to a panel of debt advice agencies so we are delighted that Northern Powergrid has embedded the process within customer channels.”
Customers interested in finding out more and how Northern Powergrid is supporting its customers and communities can visit northernpowergrid.com/force-for-good
Customers who may be more vulnerable and would benefit from additional advice and support in a power cut can also find out more or sign up themselves, or a family member, to Northern Powergrid’s free Priority Services Membership by visiting northernpowergrid.com/care, emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 0800 169 2996.
Northern Powergrid, as part of its planning for 2023 and beyond, has recently launched its draft business plan in which it shares its commitment to be an energy industry leader and how it will be a force for good - including supporting vulnerable customers in the communities it serves.
Over the coming months Northern Powergrid will be engaging with its customers and other key stakeholders to understand if they agree and accept its proposals in readiness for submitting its final business plan for 2023-28 to the energy regulator, Ofgem, on 1 December 2021.