£2.5m Fund Will Support Vulnerable Energy Customers

A £2.5m fund will enable charities to offer technological and cost-cutting support to vulnerable energy customers.

The funding comes from the Energy Redress Scheme, a pot of voluntary payments made by energy suppliers follows enforcement and compliance action from Ofgem. Ofgem has appointed the Energy Saving Trust to administer and distribute the funding.

The trust is seeking applications from charities that can help vulnerable energy customers understand their energy consumptions and contracts. Potential uses of the money include increasing energy efficiency of vulnerable consumers’ homes, educating them about their energy use and bills and helping them stay on top of payments, the provision of in-home safety advice, installing innovative energy saving technologies in homes, and helping customers switch to renewable energy sources.

“The overarching aim of the Energy Redress Scheme is to distribute available funds to support energy consumers in vulnerable situations and the development of products or services which will provide a benefit to certain groups of energy consumers,” said Mike Thornton, Group Director of Operations at Energy Saving Trust.

“This is a terrific opportunity for organisations to tackle issues they experience with either energy consumption, understanding or availability. This can be delivered in a number of ways, from helping vulnerable groups to developing renewable schemes or even encouraging good energy behaviours and understanding,” he added.

“This is the largest pot of money made available so far in the scheme, so we’d urge any charity that thinks it can deliver real impact for energy consumers to register and apply.”

Applications open 15 October and will run until 16 November, with eligible charities urged to register interest at least two weeks before the closing date to allow for due diligence. Successful applicants are expected to be announced in the new year.

A previous round of funding from the Energy Redress Scheme distributed £280,000 to six schemes, including £39,000 to Northumberland County Blind Association to pilot technological solutions to make heating controls accessible to people with visual impairments. £75,000 funded the creation of a replicable one-stop-shop energy advice service in Rochdale, and £40,000 installed a ground source community heating network for 22 properties in Scotland previously heated by electric storage heaters and electric boilers.

On the Isle of Lewis, residents of a housing estate were offered free slow cookers and LED lighting as part of an education programme on efficient heating and lighting. The money also supported home visits in which residents were offered in-depth energy advice, encompassing energy billing, insulation and the installation of carbon monoxide detectors. In Wirral, a 20-month programme is helping 5,000 vulnerable residents and installing more than 1,000 energy efficiency meters. And in Wigan, a Community Energy Champion Programme is providing energy and fuel poverty advice to hard to reach, vulnerable residents.

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