EDF Energy, , has today announced a new nationwide partnership with Citizens Advice, the largest providers of independent debt advice in the UK.

The energy company will fund the Energy Debt Advice service, which will offer its customers free access to independent advice on how to deal with household debts through Citizens Advice. Help will be tailored to suit each individual’s needs, ranging from providing general information to carrying out detailed casework to assist the customer in resolving their financial issues.

Customers who wish to use the service will find the free phone number advertised on their EDF Energy bills and letters. The service will be completely confidential and independent of EDF Energy. It has been designed to take a holistic approach to each customer’s financial situation, as the combined experience of both EDF Energy and Citizens Advice shows that those struggling with energy bills often have other household debts.

EDF Energy will fund the staffing of the Energy Debt Advice service contact centre, including debt caseworkers and a supervisor/trainer. For the first year, the project will also include a part-time Energy Development worker in the Plymouth Citizens Advice Bureau to continue the successful EDF Energy Devon and Cornwall fuel poverty partnership. It is estimated that around 10,000 households a year have benefited from this placement alone.

The sponsorship will also fund a part-time specialist fuel debt adviser in the Citizens Advice’s national specialist support team to train and support frontline workers in the network of bureaux across the country on fuel debt issues so they can support EDF Energy customers more effectively nationwide.

Martin Lawrence, Managing Director, Energy Sourcing and Customer Supply, EDF Energy, said: “EDF Energy has worked with Citizens Advice for a number of years, beginning with funding the first energy advice development post at the Plymouth Citizens Advice Bureau. We are delighted to develop this successful relationship further by financing the Energy Debt Advice service and the new positions it requires, so we can offer our customers direct support from the organisation.

“We understand that issues with debt can be extremely stressful but we know we have found the right partner with Citizens Advice to help people having problems with their household bills, particularly those in fuel poverty.”