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Energy giant cancels bills for 11 small care homes around Ipswich

PUBLISHED: 14:52 20 May 2020 | UPDATED: 14:52 20 May 2020

Drax's biomass domes  Picture: DRAX

Drax's biomass domes Picture: DRAX

Drax

An energy firm has stepped in to provide free gas and electricity for 11 small care homes across Ipswich and East Anglia.

An engineer at the furnace at the Drax biomass power plant in north Yorkshire  Picture: DANIEL LEWIS/VISMEDIAAn engineer at the furnace at the Drax biomass power plant in north Yorkshire Picture: DANIEL LEWIS/VISMEDIA

Drax Group has cancelled bills for the homes for two months during the coronavirus crisis.

The initiative is part of a package of support worth £636K for Drax Group customers to provide help during the pandemic.

The 11 homes are among 170 nationwide selected to receive the free energy. All are small businesses based in communities which are local to Drax’s operations across England, Scotland and Wales.

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Business energy provider Haven Power, based at Ransomes Europark in Ipswich, is part of the Drax Group.

Inside the offices of Haven Power in Ipswich  Picture: VISMEDIA/DANIEL JONESInside the offices of Haven Power in Ipswich Picture: VISMEDIA/DANIEL JONES

Drax Group chief executive Will Gardiner said: “We’re working hard to offer more support to our customers and communities during this crisis.

“Care homes are critically important – they do incredible work looking after some of the most vulnerable people in our communities and we know this pandemic is putting them under immense pressure. As a gesture of appreciation for the excellent work these businesses are doing, we’re cancelling their energy bills for a couple of months.”

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Among the care homes selected to receive the free energy support is Stowcare in Stowmarket, which looks after 66 elderly and vulnerable residents and is one of Haven Power’s customers.

Business energy supplier Haven Power in Ipswich is owned by the Drax Group  Picture: VISMEDIA/DANIEL JONESBusiness energy supplier Haven Power in Ipswich is owned by the Drax Group Picture: VISMEDIA/DANIEL JONES

General manager Simon Gibbs said they “really appreciated” the gesture.

“Our teams are working very hard in some really challenging circumstances at the moment.

“Not having to pay our energy bills for two months means we’ve one less thing to worry about and we can also redirect the money we would have spent on energy, to source more personal protective equipment (PPE), which will help to keep our carers and the people they look after, safe.”

Drax is also donating £150,000 to the Money Advice Trust’s Business Debtline, a national charity helping small and medium-sized enterprises facing financial hardship. It has reduced and deferred payment plans for business customers adversely impacted by the lockdown, and energy rates are being frozen for three months for those coming to the end of their contracts and rolling onto a monthly plan.

“We know a lot of businesses are having a tough time,” said Mr Gardiner.

Drax owns and operates eight power stations across England and Scotland, as well as two energy supply businesses, Opus Energy and Haven Power.

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