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Smart Energy GB in Communities fund offers grants to help reach reach offline an low income audiences

19th January 2021

Up to £25,000 available to organisations that can help spread the word about smart meters

From today, charities and voluntary organisations are invited to apply for funding for projects to help those who are offline and on a low income, understand and benefit from smart meters.

Smart meters are especially beneficial to customers in vulnerable circumstances, eliminating estimated billing and enabling households to access near-real time information about their energy use, as well as top up prepay meters from home. With the pandemic stretching throughout winter, and energy bills on the rise, the Smart Energy GB in Communities fund provides the opportunity for organisations to speak to offline and low-income households about the vital benefits smart meters could bring.

The Smart Energy GB in Communities fund is open for applications now, offering grants of up to £25,000. The grant programme works with charities and voluntary groups to help people who are on a low income or are offline can understand the benefits of smart meters, our energy system and our planet.

Smart meters are being offered to every household in Britain by energy suppliers, at no extra cost. They send accurate meter readings directly to suppliers and show people how much energy they're using in pounds and pence, allowing them to keep track of budgets and spot waste. On top of the benefits to households, smart meters form part of an essential upgrade that will make Britain's energy infrastructure smarter, greener and less wasteful.

Phillippa Brown, Deputy Director of Specialist Audiences at Smart Energy GB, said:

"Whether you are a previous or new applicant, we're looking forward to seeing the great ideas you have to spread the word about smart meters to members of our communities across Great Britain.

"Smart meters have benefits for us all. In the home, they allow us to keep track of our energy costs and remove the inconvenience of taking meter readings. On a national level, they form an essential part of a smarter, greener energy system that will reduce waste and make the most of renewable energy sources. Our Smart Energy GB in Communities programme aims to ensure that we can all take advantage of, and play our part in, this huge upgrade to our country's energy infrastructure."

Jon Hutchinson is a Programme Director at Groundwork Cheshire, Lancashire and Merseyside, which received a grant in 2020. He said:

"We are a charity working with local communities across Cheshire, Lancashire and Merseyside to build their resilience in facing up to the challenges of a globalised economy and a changing climate.

In 2020 we received funding from Smart Energy GB to reach people aged over 65 who were unaware of smart meters.

Funding enabled our established energy support team to work with the target demographic areas in high deprivation within the North West. We were able to provide 1:1 support to those in need, both in person and over the phone. We also delivered a broad engagement campaign using print and digital media targeting both the demographic directly and their families."

The Smart Energy GB in Communities programme works with expert local organisations from the voluntary and public sectors to ensure people who may need extra information and support can understand the benefits of smart meters and how to request an installation.

The bid fund is being coordinated by the charities National Energy Action (NEA) and Energy Action Scotland (EAS).

Grants will be awarded to regionally-based organisations, with local networks, that have a trusted voice amongst people who are:

  • 1) on a low income: defined as having an annual household income of less than £14,000 before tax. The total amount of grant requested should be between £7,500 and £10,000
  • 2) are offline: adults who have no personal internet access anywhere, inside and outside home, including via mobile devices. The total amount of grant requested should be between £15,000 and £25,000.

Housing associations, registered charities and non-registered community groups are eligible to apply. Applications are also welcome from former applicants, both successful and unsuccessful.

Applications must be received by 12 noon Friday 12th February 2021, and funded activities must be completed by 8th December, 2021.

Further information is available at https://www.nea.org.uk/smart-meters/smart-fund/

-ENDS-

Notes to editors

About smart meters and the rollout

Britain is committed to a cleaner future - one with zero carbon, zero emissions and reduced pollution.

To make this happen, our nation requires a major upgrade to its energy infrastructure, specifically, it requires the creation of a smart energy system. Smart meters, which replace traditional, analogue meters, are the foundation of a more reliable, clean and affordable energy infrastructure, allowing Great Britain to better manage energy use, transition to mass uptake of electric vehicles and to build a greener economy.

There are already over 22 million smart meters installed in homes and microbusinesses across Great Britain. Every household in England, Scotland and Wales can now see their energy use in near-real time, receive accurate bills and do their bit for the planet, by requesting a smart meter, at no extra cost, from their energy supplier.

About Smart Energy GB

Smart Energy GB is the campaign for a smarter Britain. It's our task to help everyone in Great Britain understand smart meters, the national rollout and how to use their new meters to be cleaner and greener with their energy use. Our national campaign is reaching households and microbusinesses in England, Scotland and Wales. For more information visit our website smartenergyGB.org

About National Energy Action

NEA is the national fuel poverty charity, working to ensure everyone in England, Wales and Northern Ireland can live in a warm home. www.nea.org.uk

Smart Energy GB media contacts

For more information including interview requests, case studies of smart meter users, infographics, photography and video content please contact the Smart Energy GB media team:

Smart Energy GB:

James Spence: [email protected]; 0203 019 1048 / 07715 666 991