Fenland eye - Software to support the needy

PUBLISHED: 12:26 13 January 2006 | UPDATED: 13:21 28 May 2010

FENLAND Council has developed unique fuel poverty mapping software that will enable local authorities in the eastern region to direct support more accurately to people who could benefit from saving energy and money. The software, developed by Bruce Pittin

FENLAND Council has developed unique fuel poverty mapping software that will enable local authorities in the eastern region to direct support more accurately to people who could benefit from saving energy and money.The software, developed by Bruce Pittingale, Fenland's climate change manager, will be given to home energy officers in all local authorities in the eastern region so that there can be a co-ordinated approach to conserving energy and for saving people money on their fuel bills.The software, called the Heondata Tool, is so sophisticated that it can identify anywhere in the region where people do not have central heating. It can identify households without cars, single parent homes, and people who own their own homes but who are in receipt of pension credit indicating they are asset rich but cash poor.Such information enables energy conservation officers to focus support on households who may benefit from a wide range of local and national grants to install central heating and provide insulation.Bruce developed the software on behalf of the Home Energy Officers Network - Eastern, with the aid of a grant from the Department of Trade and Industry, which was matched by Powergen. It has taken a year to develop and contains all the information any local authority could need to direct resources in a more focused way.Until now authorities have had to rely on wide distribution of mailshots, which do not always hit the target.Bruce collated national statistics from a variety of departments so that Home Energy Officers can support people on Job Seekers Allowance, Income Support, Disability Living Allowance, State Pension, Pension Credit, Minimum Income Guarantee, people living in rented accommodation, adults with young children, lone parents, and people without central heating.The information is invaluable for enabling officers to offer grants such as the £2,700 Warmfront grant for central heating and insulation.The software offers users the opportunity to analyse information down to postcode level for very high levels of accuracy.Councillor Kit Owen, portfolio holder responsible for Energy Efficiency, said: "This is an innovative piece of software that will help transform the way all authorities in the eastern region are able to home in on groups of people who could benefit from grants and energy efficiency advice. It is impressive to see local authorities across the region working in unison to save energy and to help the most vulnerable sectors of our communities.

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