WPD Energy Affordability Fund (2020-21)

21 October 2020

We're pleased to be able to announce that there were six successful applicants to the Energy Affordability Fund, funded by Western Power Distribution (WPD) and administered by us.

The first round of the Energy Affordability Fund grant scheme ran in late 2018. Six community-focused organisations shared over £75,000 to be spent on initiatives that support fuel poor people and households, CSE administered the fund and you can read about it here.

This round, the grant fund made awards of up to £20,000 to six not-for-profit organisations to deliver innovative affordable warmth or Priority Service Register (PSR) services, adapting to the Covid-19 pandemic and developing new ways of working to support vulnerable customers effectively while maintaining safe social distancing.

The successful groups were:

Act on Energy (£20,000): to conduct a direct marketing campaign to those most in need in Coventry, Stratford, and Warwickshire. They plan to send out a booklet to 10,000 households providing advice and support to enable vulnerable households to carry out home improvements and support with tariff switching.

Citizens Advice Cornwall (£13,812): to adapt their energy advice services to provide advice via video link, as well as by phone and work to expand partner contacts to set up laptops in local Foodbanks. They are also planning to produce a short video promoting the Priority Services Register, Warm Home Discount and other measures to help vulnerable people which will be shared in partner waiting rooms as well as online, reaching 10,000 people.

Exeter Community Energy Ltd (£15,040): to build and continue their Healthy Homes for Wellbeing project into the winter season. They plan to support 500 people through calls, and some limited face-to-face clinics and ‘energy-cafe’ webinars. They will also run energy training for 75 frontline workers in their referral network and use some funding for publicity.

Cyngor ar Bopeth Ceredigion Citizens Advice (£18,541): to bring additional capacity to their team and extend the reach of their energy advice by developing links to existing referral partners and establish new ones. They plan to run a series of training sessions for 48 frontline workers, hold Q&A online workshops for a 120 people and offer 1:1 advice surgeries for 110 plan.

Anchor Hanover Housing Group (£8,000): to do a direct mail-out to 4,675 individuals that have been identified as at greater risk of fuel poverty in their housing in the WPD area. They plan to offer 1:1 advice to 230 of those receiving the mail-outs and plan to do some outreach to the remaining 129 housing estates in the WPD area with a lower fuel poverty rating to promote advice services and Priority Services Register.

We Care Home Improvements (£15,000): to offer telephone-based information and advice to 800 clients and one-to-one support to 500 clients. All these individuals will benefit from focussed conversations on energy efficiency and the PSR. They are also planning to use the funding to do some focussed promotion of the project in localities where high levels of fuel poverty have been identified through connecting with 80 local agencies and community groups, to disseminate information including the distribution of 3,000 sign-up leaflets to the PSR.

Grants were limited to organisations working within WPD's network area of the Midlands, South West England and Southern Wales, and were given to activities that met objectives such as identifying new registrants for the Priority Service Register, helping PSR-eligible households manage their bills and providing advice and support to enable vulnerable households to make energy efficiency improvements.

CSE's Rachel Haycock, who managed the fund, said "As in previous years we were bowled over by all the organisations out there doing great and inspiring work. We've no doubt that the half dozen that we've selected will make good use of the grant and improve the lives of many people in this uniquely challenging time."

Grant recipients attended a capacity building and knowledge sharing event run by CSE on 2 October 2020.

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