Wales & West Utilities has launched a partnership with Exeter Community Energy (ECOE) to help people with dementia access appropriate support and advice in relation to their energy and utility bills.

The partnership will target people living with dementia across the wider Devon area as part of the organisation’s Healthy Homes for Wellbeing initiative, which provides free energy and money saving advice.

Wales & West Utilities has provided £4,000 of funding which will allow ECOE to reach more people, allowing them to benefit from help and advice with energy saving and access to schemes to reduce utility costs, amongst other areas. The funding will also ensure more people locally have access to ongoing support by signing up to the Priority Services Register (PSR), whilst advisors will be able to make referrals for specialist support with fitting Locking Cooker Valves and distribute free carbon monoxide alarms. 

Gas emergency and pipeline service, Wales & West Utilities has provided the funding as part of its Vulnerability and Carbon Monoxide Allowance (VCMA).

Tara Bowers, Healthy Homes for Wellbeing Project Manager at Exeter Community Energy, said:

Wales & West Utilities first approached us to offer its support in distributing potentially life-saving carbon monoxide alarms and ‘Keep Warm’ packs to our clients, which was fantastic in itself.

To now receive this funding, which will significantly benefit many people with dementia across the local area, is fantastic.

The funding will go to support the ongoing Healthy Homes for Wellbeing initiative - a free energy advice service for Devon residents.

As well as regular drop-in clinics and advice surgeries around the city, free home visits are available for eligible people, including those with dementia.

As part of the scheme, fully trained home energy advisors provide energy saving tips, help with changing supplier or tariff and applying for discounts. Information on available grants and help with benefits and energy debt is also given.

L-R Wales & West Utilities Jamie Parr and Louise Alfaresi, with ECOE’s Home Energy Advisor, Paul Whittall, and Wales & West Utilities, David Summerfield

Tara continued:

This money will allow us to do more for our dementia clients, helping those most in need to gain specific advice on energy efficiency and gas safety.

We are grateful to Wales & West Utilities for its support in helping us to benefit more lives of people locally.

Tom Robinson, Social Obligations Specialist at Wales & West Utilities, said:

We’re delighted that this funding will boost the excellent work that ECOE is delivering in the Devon area.

By working in partnership, we can reach more people, providing them with the help they need to ensure they receive the right support and help with their bills, as well as keeping them safe and warm in their own homes.

Between April 2021 to March 2026, Wales & West Utilities has £7m to spend on projects which support consumers in vulnerable situations and raise awareness of the dangers of carbon monoxide and keep people safe from the ‘silent killer’.

Funding is made from the Vulnerability and Carbon Monoxide Allowance (VCMA), and 75% of the money will be spent on projects relevant to Wales and south west England only, while 25% will be spent on collaborative projects with the other gas networks across the whole of the UK.

If you have a project that you think Wales & West Utilities could support, either individually or collaboratively with other gas networks, then contact Wales & West Utilities at

Wales & West Utilities, the gas emergency and pipeline service, brings energy to 7.5m people across the south west of England and Wales. If you smell gas, or suspect the presence of carbon monoxide, call us on 0800 111 999 straight away, and our engineers will be there to help any time of day or night.