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COVID-19 FAQS for Home Energy Scotland customers

The latest information from our team regarding the coronavirus outbreak

19 Mar 2020

We've put together some information to help reassure customers and partners that we're still open and working hard to support households to stay warm. This information was last updated on 7 May. 

 

How is the Home Energy Scotland service affected by the current coronavirus outbreak?

We’re still open as usual and able to receive calls, make outbound calls and send emails as normal, and our systems are fully functional. We are operating without any real disruption to our telephone service however staff are now home based and we’re closely monitoring how this goes. We are no longer able to offer home visits or send letters out and are contacting customers by telephone, email or SMS instead.

 

How has the advice offered by Home Energy Scotland adapted to the coronavirus outbreak?

We’re still offering the same level of free and impartial advice, and have been keeping up to date with the latest developments from government and the energy industry. This has allowed us to answer specific questions, for example helping people on prepayment meters who aren’t able to top up because they’re self-isolating.

Our transport advice has also been adapted to reflect the current lockdown, with a focus on staying local and staying healthy by choosing active travel for essential journeys.  

Customers thinking about renewables can use the new Home Renewables Selector tool as a starting point for their research, after which they can get in touch and a renewables specialist can talk them through the output. If a customer has a specific question they can of course get in touch as normal but as we’re not currently able to offer home visits, we’re limited in terms of how bespoke our recommendations and calculations can be.

 

Is outreach work still taking place?

Our number one priority is the health and wellbeing of our customers, colleagues and their families, and therefore we are now cancelling all home visits and face-to-face outreach activity until further notice. Where we can, we will offer this advice by phone or digitally.

 

Is Warmer Homes Scotland still open?

Following the recent update and change of guidance regarding Coronavirus (COVID-19) Warmworks, the managing agent for the Warmer Homes Scotland scheme, have agreed the following with the Scottish Government in relation to delivery of the scheme:

  • No new installation works will be scheduled or carried out in people’s homes during this period of restricted activity.
  • Warmworks will continue to provide temporary heaters to those without working heating, via a delivery service only.
  • Warmworks will remain open from 9am - 5pm, Monday to Friday to support customer enquiries during this period of disruption – to contact Warmworks directly call 0808 156 9568

 

Are events and workshops still going ahead?

We’ve now cancelled or rescheduled all our events and workshops. Where we can, we will communicate directly with registered attendees to advise of new dates or alternative options such as webinars.

 

What’s the impact on loan schemes accessed through Home Energy Scotland?

At the moment all loan schemes remain open as usual, subject to availability and terms and conditions – nothing has changed and the customer service team that administer the loans are operational, making the shift from office to home working too. Customers may experience some longer waiting times as we get this organised. Disruption to third party services (eg installers) is highly likely too, and we recommend that customers stay in touch with us regarding ongoing applications.

We’ve made it easier for customers to access payment holidays on our loans, with 0% interest-rates remaining in place during any payment holidays. Existing loan customers can access a payment holiday request form here. We’ve also put new processes in place for customers who aren’t able to get a post-installation EPC due to the lockdown. 

 

Is there any support available for landlords whose tenants are struggling to pay rent?

An interest-free loan is available to support landlords in the private rented sector whose tenants are having difficulty paying rent because of Covid-19. The PRS Landlord (non-business) Covid-19 Loan is available for landlords who are not classified as businesses and have five or less properties to rent. Eligible landlords can apply for a loan to cover lost rental income for a single property, for a period of up to 6 months. This will be backdated to 1 March 2020 and repayments are deferred until October.

 

Can partner organisations still make referrals to Home Energy Scotland?

We’re encouraging partners to refer their clients to Home Energy Scotland, especially if they’re finding it hard to stay warm and keep up with their bills. We’re staying up to date with developments in the energy sector and we are working with Scottish Government to ensure that our support remains available to the most vulnerable households in Scotland. Please continue to refer using our portal at https://hespartnerships.est.org.uk/ or find your local partnerships contact here. We can also set up and train new partner organisations remotely on how to use the portal.

 

Can Home Energy Scotland help partners with coronavirus-related projects?

Yes – we’re reaching out to councils and other organisations to see if they need support, particularly with reaching vulnerable people as our advisors are already well used to this. This case study details how Home Energy Scotland is supporting Aberdeen City Council calling residents who have received shielding letters. Other interested organisations are invited to get in touch by emailing HES_Partnerships@est.org.uk.

 

Are ebike trials still available?

Our ebike trials have been suspended to protect customers and Home Energy Scotland colleagues. If you are currently trialling an ebike from us, we will be in touch directly.

 

Don't forget you can contact us online or by phone on 0808 808 2282 our advice is free and impartial. 

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