Today we held a session to design a service package we could give to customers at risk of fuel poverty. This is to begin some user testing with customers over the next few weeks.
Will they welcome the offer? Will they reject it? Will they suggest something else entirely?
Initially we we are focussing on two specific groups. Customers aged 65 and older who live alone. And families with children under the age of five.
Both pitches hinged on the offer of a regular visit to at risk groups (perhaps annually) that did an assessment of the home and the person. It's a "Home Doctor" type concept that could begin a with a self diagnosis for some people before leading to a full visit. We recognise the importance of trust in this relationship and we are not presuming at this stage that the visit would be resourced by Bromford.
Pitch One - Families with Young Children
This group looked at young families focussed heavily on the children themselves. These were some of the ideas generated:
Moving in - is a SAP D rated home good enough? Have an automatic assessment of the home if a newborn/pregnant woman/ young child is moving in.
Are you expecting? - Women tend to read everything to get ready for a baby. Could we include ways to heat the home in that? Link with money advice, wellbeng information
Opportunity for a New Mum Kit: Link with companies who can provide baby grows/snugs. Encourage our customers to tell us they’re expecting. Simple tech to help like a temperature gauge for the bath. Bath adaptors (to reduce the size of the bath so less water used) as young ones don’t like showers.
These are tech savvy households so use of smart solutions to regulate heat - make competitive through neighbourhood.
Other simple tech like one switch that turns off everything in the room - no more standby and wasting money. Focus on young children as the energy champions.
Consider locked in temperatures or defaults - the home cannot go below 18 degrees. If the bill comes in and can't afford it it triggers conversations.
The second group focussed more on an offer that was taken directly to the customer - with an annual Home Doctor visit.
Pitch Two - Older People living alone
- Establish home wellbeing checks - call the Home Doctor to identify where help is needed.
- Priority investment - we already improve the EPC of properties but these people would be identified as priority for other investment solutions/advice. This would more flexible than our existing planned programme. Customer may need now - not in two years.
- Focus on community networks. Sponsor drop in sessions with AgeUK, local GPs who run this. Link in with casserole clubs. Local community projects. Lots of things happening already and we don’t need to duplicate.
- Create simple advice for those who don't need help but might do if situation changes.
- Link closer to energy providers for better deals for customers.
- Home Doctor is as regular or as sparse as the customer wants. They want a home visit or just SMS prompt service.
- Stronger link in with existing money advice service.
- Just wipe off debt on the meter? Give them a blank slate so x% of money in the meter doesn’t go to clearing debt and to heating the home.
- Having a frank conversation with customers about under occupancy - if we have done everything we can to improve the home and well being and still struggling - is the house just too big? What's our offer
- Training our colleagues to identify triggers - on the phone, through a repairs visit, moving in etc etc etc.
- Simple solutions (community engagement) need for draught excluders solved by knitting club for example
We'll be fine tuning an offer in next couple of days to do some initial soundings with residents and other partners.
And we'll be publishing our draft Fuel Poverty strategy on Thursday for comments...