Fighting fuel poverty with energy awareness training

As the temperature begins to drop the frustration levels are rising as people struggle to set their heating and hot water controls, cut down condensation and keep warm in a damp-free home.

To tackle these problems and to help fight fuel poverty National Energy Action (NEA) run a three-day course leading to the NEA/City & Guilds 6281-01 Level 3 Award in Energy Awareness.

It’s been running for 25 years reaching more than 25,000 people and is NEA’s most popular course for energy efficiency advisers.

I’ve just completed the course and thankfully passed.

The aim of the course is to be able to advise people on how to use heating controls effectively, understand fuel usage and to keep their home warmer.

I’m now happy to say I’m confident I can do this.

What do you learn?

  • What fuel poverty is
  • The efficiency and appropriate use of heating and hot water systems and the functions of the controls
  • To interpret domestic fuel cost data using reference materials
  • How to advise clients on how to record gas and electricity consumption and work out costs
  • Ways to inform clients of ways of paying for gas and electricity
  • Identifying the potential to improve energy efficiency in a range of properties
  • Being able to explain the Energy Company Obligation (ECO)
  • Advise clients on how to avoid condensation and how to take remedial action where condensation dampness exists.

Although I’m not a frontline adviser the knowledge I’ve gained in the course is useful in my line of work but also in a personal capacity too.

I’ve lived in a very cold, draughty student house which suffered with dampness, condensation and manky mould. If only I’d known how to keep the house warm, cut down condensation and get rid of the dampness it would’ve made my final year at uni a lot easier.

When I lived away in lovely Lincolnshire I struggled to heat my flat in the city centre because I didn’t understand the controls on the electric storage heaters. But now I know what the input and output controls do; this would’ve prevented me suffering quite so badly with my seasonal asthma.

Every time I’ve moved house I’ve had to get to grips with a different type of meter for my gas and electricity and it isn’t always easy to read them. I now know how to identify different meters and how to take accurate readings.

Being able to provide accurate meter readings to your supplier puts an end to any estimated bills which can cause havoc for people – especially during the colder months when you’re using more fuel to keep warm.

Ian was our trainer and he was fantastic. He instilled a wealth of knowledge within us but also confidence too.

Maths has always been my kryptonite but my second highest exam result was in the maths-dominated section around working out fuel use and bills which Ian explained so well.

I now have a much better understanding of how much electricity appliances use and how bills are calculated.

The struggle to keep your home warm against rising fuel costs is causing problems for millions in the UK.

After this course I understand where heat loss occurs in different properties, measures to tackle this and how to keep the heat in. This knowledge is fantastic and I’m already passing it on through work and to friends and family to help them too.

The course is intense because there’s a lot to learn but it’s all really relevant and useful. The accompanying Energy Advice in the Home tenth edition booklet is a fantastic resource that I’m keeping close by for future reference.

Energy Advice in the Home tenth edition

I’d absolutely recommend this course to anyone who is working with clients who struggle with their fuel bills, keeping warm and the variety of issues that come with a cold, damp and mouldy home.

You will be armed with the knowledge to be able to make a difference to their circumstances.

The Macmillan Energy Advice team are frontline advisers and they recommend this course too. Here’s what they thought in a previous blog and in the video below.

By Rachael Stray

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