WPD publishes our analysis of vulnerability to support fuel poverty action

15 June 2017

Western Power Distribution (WPD) recently commissioned CSE to undertake updated data analysis and mapping of customer vulnerability across their distribution network (more on this work can be found here). The results and underlying data are now published on WPD’s website. The purpose of publishing this material is to support efforts of local authorities and other organisations to target local projects and services towards areas with the greatest need.

Click here to access the maps and data.

The analysis, maps and data focus on four indicators of vulnerability at local level:

  1. Priority Services Register (PSR) eligibility: Areas where it is likely there are high numbers of customers eligible for WPD’s free, confidential Priority Services Register.
  2. Fuel poverty: Areas where it is likely there are high numbers of customers impacted by fuel poverty; for example customers living in cold homes and/or struggling to afford their energy bills.
  3. Network vulnerability:  Areas with high numbers of individual customers who are likely to be significantly vulnerability to power cuts.
  4. Low community resilience: Index of communities potentially less able to deal with unforeseen adverse situations, particularly natural disasters such as storms and floods.

“WPD has an extensive consumer vulnerability programme, which in the last 12 months has supported fuel poor customers to save over £3m”, said Karen McCalman, Social Obligations Officer at WPD. “The data from this project is integral to help us target our schemes to the areas of greatest need, identifying the most vulnerable hot spot areas, ensuring we are supporting vulnerable customers as effectively as possible”.

Dr Toby Bridgeman, CSE’s Research Project Manager who led the work, said: “We hope that the maps and data are also helpful for local organisations looking to evidence the need for their work or target local projects and services towards areas with the highest vulnerabilities”.

WPD is keen to assist organisations and agencies working in their region to support their work helping vulnerable people. They would welcome approaches from those developing new initiatives, particularly those in the geographical “hotspots” revealed by CSE’s research and mapping exercise. 

Organisations should contact Karen McCalman at WPD on 01332 827644 or kmccalman@westernpower.co.uk

This work builds on CSE’s previous Who’s on our Wires study for WPD (2013) in which we similarly analysed the demographics of WPD customers but in this instance to make predictions about their future energy use in order to assess changes in network load. This earlier work informed WPD priorities for network reinforcement, strategic business planning and asset investment. We updated this dataset in 2017 to provide more information on the distribution of vulnerability on WPD's network. We also provided a similar vulnerability mapping service for other DNOs.

Stay up to date with our work - sign up for our fortnightly newsletter