SSEN has joined forces with energy efficiency experts Home Energy Scotland (HES) and YES Energy Solutions (YES) to offer free an impartial advice to vulnerable customers.

SSEN’s teams will be trained to look and listen for customers who would benefit from extra assistance, and then refer those identified to HES in Scotland, or YES in England.

From here these companies will contact them within five working days.

Once referred, customers can receive advice on an array of relevant subjects, such as saving energy and switching suppliers, claiming back money through the Warm Home Discount or Winter Fuel Payment schemes, and how to make the most of smart meters.

According to SSEN, out of the 4.1million homes and businesses it supplies, almost 10 per cent of customers in England and 25 per cent of those in Scotland are fuel poor.

In the UK, fuel poverty is defined as having required fuel costs above the national median average and residual household income below the poverty line if they paid that amount in full.

Government figures show that more than 7 per cent of Scottish households are in extreme fuel poverty.

SSEN’s head of stakeholder engagement, Lyndsey Stainton, said: “Fuel poverty is a challenge that we all need to work together to address and as a responsible network operator, we are determined to play our role in supporting our customers who need extra help.

“These partnerships are an important part of the support we can provide, helping people living in our network areas to heat their homes efficiently and save money.”

Harry Mayers, head of Home Energy Scotland, added: “At Home Energy Scotland we embrace partnership working wholeheartedly and are pleased to continue to offer our support in tackling fuel poverty.”

And Duncan McCombie, CEO of YES Energy Solutions, commented: “The scheme fits perfectly with our Community Interest Company status, and partnerships like these are vital in reversing the rise of fuel poverty across the country.”

Home Energy Scotland is funded by the Scottish Government and delivered by Energy Saving Trust, while YES Energy Solutions is a community interest company, which is dedicated to helping people save money, reducing C02 emissions, and alleviating fuel poverty.