Evaluation of the Npower Fuel Bank™
Pilot phase evaluation
During 2014-15 NEA worked in partnership with npower, the Trussell Trust and individual food bank providers in the pilot areas of County Durham, Gloucester, Kingston and the Wirral to develop the npower Fuel Bank™ scheme. The npower Fuel Bank is an innovative and novel approach to supporting households in energy crisis and is targeted at food bank service-users that use a pre-payment meter (PPM) who are struggling with their energy costs and at immediate risk self-disconnection and/or rationing of energy. During the pilot phase NEA was commissioned by npower to undertake an evaluation of the Fuel Bank to assess the impact of the fuel bank on service-users and to assess the operational processes and administration of the scheme from the view of both food bank providers and those that used the service.
The Fuel Bank provides a fuel voucher to the value of £49 (equivalent to approx. two weeks’ dual fuel use) in three pilot areas and £30 (equivalent to approx. one week’s dual fuel use) in one pilot area (the Wirral). The evaluation identified three direct principal benefits to fuel voucher recipients: 1) enabling reconnection to energy supplies (in cases of self-disconnection); 2) helping to prevent self-disconnection where emergency credit is already being used; and 3) helping to reduce or pay down a proportion of energy debt, including preventing use of emergency credit. There were also several other indirect benefits to recipients, including helping to regain control over household budget and debts; providing relief to those experiencing stress and anxiety; and enabling families access to the basics that are often and rightly taken for granted by most.
Phase two evaluation
This report presents the results of a second phase of evaluation of the npower Fuel Bank™ scheme. While the pilot evaluation (phase one) examined the experience and impact of the scheme from the perspective of service users and service providers (food bank staff and volunteers), this report focuses solely on service users. Fieldwork took place between December 2016 and February 2017 and involved 172 service users.
The npower Fuel Bank™, launched as a pilot scheme in four areas 2015, was expanded into 10 new locations in spring 2016. Fuel banks are now available across Great Britain in 14 areas (12 in England and one in both Wales and Scotland).Published on 20-04-2017