Money for Chichester district energy advice service approved

Arun & Chichester Citizens Advice is to be given a £60,000 helping hand to fund its energy advice service for three years.
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The money will be taken from Chichester District Council’s general reserve and was approved during a meeting of the cabinet on Tuesday (September 5).

The service was introduced in 2021 and seeks to support people living in fuel poverty, ensuring they are on the correct energy tariffs, helping them to reduce their energy bills and maximise their income.

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Jonathan Brown, deputy leader of the council, told the meeting: “We’ve got to look after our most vulnerable residents.”

Many people are struggling with the cost of their energy bills (Image:Pixabay)Many people are struggling with the cost of their energy bills (Image:Pixabay)
Many people are struggling with the cost of their energy bills (Image:Pixabay)

Laying out the background of the advice service, Tracie Bangert, cabinet member for communities & wellbeing, said that 3,000 households had been reached since it began.

She added: “In 2020, Chichester district had the third highest number of households in West Sussex in fuel poverty, with 4,842 – and this is likely to increase over the next three years.”

The energy advice service has been funded countywide by West Sussex County Council since April 2023.

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But there are concerns that demand in Chichester will get to such levels that the team will not be able to cope and residents will face long waits for support.

Hence the £20,000pa helping hand each year for three years.

Mrs Bangert told the meeting that if the money was not approved, they risked having ‘vulnerable residents having to make the decision on whether to eat or heat their homes’.

The funding will be reviewed each year, allowing the council to withdraw it if it is felt the service is not delivering.