Case Studies

Warm Zones Reactive Repairs Scheme

Situation

Often when a gas leak occurs in a home the engineer that visits may deem an appliance or gas pipe unsafe, and the gas supply to the appliance is cut off until repair work can be carried out to make it safe or the appliance is replaced. This gas safety check is carried out by the local gas Distribution Network Operator (DNO).

When a home’s gas supply is disconnected for this reason there is generally no assistance for low income and other vulnerable households who may be unable to afford the necessary repairs or replacement of their faulty gas appliance. Often these households are left without any means to heat their home or produce hot water and are forced to live without them.

The scheme

The Warm Zones Reactive Repairs Scheme was developed by NEA, Warm Zones and a DNO. The scheme is funded by a £1 million fine placed on the DNO which was allocated to NEA to administer. Warm Zone’ role is to manage the scheme and deliver the heating repair and replacement service.

The aim of the scheme is to provide a reactive repair and replacement service for low income and other vulnerable households who have their gas supply disconnected by the DNO on safety grounds. The scheme is available for owner-occupied and private rented properties in a defined geographical area.

Warm Zones trained the DNO’s engineers in the areas targeted by the scheme, to help them identify low income and other vulnerable households when they disconnect the gas supply on safety grounds and refer eligible households into the scheme. They also have information cards that they leave with the householders with details of the scheme and Warm Zones’ contact details. This acts as reassurance for the householder and gives them something to share with relatives or carers.

Warm Zones manages all referrals speedily by contacting the householder and arranging a scheme-approved gas engineer to visit as soon as possible. The engineer will assess the requirements, repair the appliance where it is economically feasible and reconnect the gas supply. If a boiler repair costs below £500 it is deemed economical to fix it. Where a repair requires parts, or the boiler is uneconomical to repair, Warm Zones will make an appointment with the householder to complete the work as soon as possible.

After the installation of the heating has taken place a Warm Zones advisor visits the home to check the installation and ensure that the resident is able to manage the new heating controls and effectively use the system.

Delivery

Following the success of the initial pilot, the scheme was extended to cover a much wider area to cover most of the DNOs geographic area.

Since the start date in September 2016, Warm Zones has assisted a total of 413 households. The scheme has made a large impact on the householders’ lives as they have been able to heat their homes effectively and for some, this is the first time in several years as their existing heating was inadequate or expensive to run. Many of the households in the scheme were elderly and many were suffering from chronic health conditions which could be exacerbated by the cold. Benefits entitlement checks were also completed where needed and the average income increase per annum was over £1,500.

Customer feedback:

“a big help. I would have really struggled otherwise. It was a Godsend and saved my blinking life to be quite honest.”

“I think the pilot is excellent. My gas leak was sorted out. The boiler and system are great. The fitters were friendly and efficient. Thank you.”

The measures delivered to date are:

275 repairs to:
  • 69 gas central heating
  • 25 gas fires
  • 140 pipework repairs
  • 40 safety checks with no fault found
  • 1 warm air unit repair
116 replacement heating:
  • 22 boilers only
  • 86 full central heating systems
  • 28 new first time central heating systems
  • 1 gas fire
  • 1 electric fire

“It has been a privilege to work with both NEA and Warm Zones on this pilot; it has allowed our colleagues to offer much needed support to customers that we come across in our daily works, who may find themselves in a situation whereby their gas heating appliances are dangerous and require repair or replacement – however these customers are not in a position to be able to afford to arrange for this work themselves; meaning that they would otherwise be without heating and hot water. Our engineers have found the process simple to use and a great weight off their minds to know that there is help for those who need it most. The fact that there has been a positive impact on over 400 households is a testament to the great works that both NEA and Warm Zones do.” Distribution Network Operator

“It has been a privilege to work with both NEA and Warm Zones on this pilot; it has allowed our colleagues to offer much needed support to customers that we come across in our daily works, who may find themselves in a situation whereby their gas heating appliances are dangerous and require repair or replacement – however these customers are not in a position to be able to afford to arrange for this work themselves; meaning that they would otherwise be without heating and hot water. Our engineers have found the process simple to use and a great weight off their minds to know that there is help for those who need it most. The fact that there has been a positive impact on over 400 households is a testament to the great works that both NEA and Warm Zones do.” Distribution Network Operator

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