£46million boost for 132 local energy schemes
16 Jan 2013 04:16 PM
132 projects have yesterday been awarded a share of £46million from the Government to help reduce fuel poverty, boost energy efficiency, and encourage collective switching and purchasing in regions across Great Britain.
This funding will be used by local authorities and third sector organisations to help keep people’s energy bills down and ensure homes are warm this winter, and in the future.
Organisations were invited to bid for money under three competitions and the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) received an overwhelming response, with councils requesting funding for individual projects, or as part of regional applications. Organisations could apply for funding for one, two or all three of these competitions and many submitted bids for more than one of the competitions.
The £46million will be allocated in three areas:
- £31million to help vulnerable householders keep warm this winter
- £10 million to kick start the Green Deal with ‘Pioneer Places’ projects
- £5 million to set up collective switching schemes – ‘Cheaper Energy Together’
Energy Secretary Edward Davey said:
"We need to find new ways to help people with their energy bills, working with communities and councils across the country.
“The projects we are funding will help people save energy and save money: helping the most vulnerable to heat their homes, getting the Green Deal market up and running and encouraging people to switch energy suppliers to get their bills down.
“This £46million will help local councils across England upgrade inefficient heating kit as well as creating demand for and installing insulation under the Green Deal in homes across their local areas.
“Funding will also be used to drive forward collective purchasing and switching initiatives at a local level, helping consumers get a better deal on their energy bills. I am delighted so many organisations want to run new co-operative schemes to help people, especially the fuel poor, to get the best deals in the market."
Tackling fuel poverty:
The first competition offered funding for local authorities in England to install efficient central heating systems and insulation in the homes of vulnerable local residents who are struggling with rising energy bills. The aim of this scheme is to help householders cut their energy costs and keep warm this winter, and in the future. This scheme was significantly over-subscribed, with 136 applications involving the majority of local councils in England requesting over £60million of support. £31million has been awarded to 61 projects involving 169 local authorities across the country.
Improving household energy efficiency:
There was also £10million up for grabs under a second competition focused on improving the energy efficiency of homes across local authority areas, not just targeted at vulnerable householders. This money is intended to kick start energy efficiency projects to tie in with the launch of the Green Deal, the Coalition’s exciting new plan to help households in Britain improve their home and save on energy bills.
The money will be used specifically for Green Deal household energy efficiency assessments to see where energy savings can be made in the home, whole house retrofits to demonstrate the benefits of energy efficiency, and local events and other activities to raise awareness of the Green Deal. DECC received 74 bids under this scheme for £19.5million and money has been awarded to 40 successful projects, covering over 150 local councils across England.
Spurring on collective purchasing and switching: ‘Cheaper Energy Together’
A third competition offered a share of £5million to local authority and third sector organisations in Great Britain to help set up collective purchasing of energy in their local areas, and also encourage residents to work together to switch energy supplier and get a better tariff. The aim of this scheme is to encourage consumers to group together and use market power to negotiate lower energy bills and save money. This competition was heavily oversubscribed as DECC received 114 bids requesting £14.8 million of funding. Money has been awarded to 31 successful projects, covering over 94 local councils and eight third sector organisations in Great Britain.
Notes for editors:
The fuel poverty and Green Deal schemes were open to local authorities in England only. The ‘Cheaper Energy Together’ collective switching fund was open to local authorities and third sector organisations across Great Britain. Local authorities who have already received funding under the Green Deal Low Carbon Cities scheme were not eligible for the Green Deal Pioneer Places competition. Full eligibility is set out in the competition scheme guidance:http://www.decc.gov.uk/en/content/cms/funding/funding_ops/lacomp/lacomp.aspx#
Government is making sure the most vulnerable households get direct financial help from their supplier. Over 1million pensioners will get £130 off their fuel bills this winter as part of the Warm Home Discount scheme, with the wider scheme helping around 2million households overall this year. And direct from the Government, all pensioner households under 79 will get £200 Winter Fuel Payment this winter and those over 80 will get £300. Further information on help with bills and energy efficiency can be found at www.gov.uk.
For an introductory period, householders taking out a Green Deal will also be eligible for a significant cashback incentive, in many cases potentially over £1000.
The Government has recently introduced a new Energy Company Obligation to run alongside the Green Deal, aimed both at saving carbon and at getting efficient boilers and insulation into the homes of vulnerable people across Great Britain. Part of this new scheme is specifically targeted at low income households to help them keep warm and save money on energy bills. Householders who think they may be eligible for help can contact the Energy Saving Advice Service (ESAS) on 0300 123 1234 for advice. ECO is expected to provide support to around 230,000 low income and vulnerable households each year, worth £540million per year.