WPD Energy Affordability Fund (2021-22)

14 January 2022

There were six successful applicants to the Energy Affordability Fund, funded by Western Power Distribution (WPD) and administered by us.

Awards of up to £20,000 were made to each of six not-for-profit organisations for projects which have a focus on tackling digital exclusion.

Each year, WPD in partnership with CSE run a grant competition within the WPD network area to support not-for-profit organisations deliver innovative local initiatives that support fuel poor people and households. 

The successful groups were:

Act on Energy
Will expand their existing advice service into Birmingham and specifically target people who are digitally excluded with energy advice. They will provide intensive home based support and installation of small measures along with in-depth support to help with basic IT skills. Project also includes some training for frontline workers on digital exclusion.

Citizens Advice Cornwall
Will expand existing energy advice service into new areas, build new partnerships and provide more access to hard-to-reach and digitally excluded clients. The project includes setting up Digital Help Hubs for people who cannot access online services.

Exeter Community Energy
Will build on existing energy advice service by using a variety of outreach channels and methods to reach digitally excluded clients including through drop-in clinics, doorstep events, networking for frontline workers and training of local energy champions.

Devon Communities Together
Will set up a new energy advice programme, targeting parts of Devon with many fuel poor, rural and digitally excluded households. Funding would help develop new partnerships and undertake targetting outreach and in-depth coaching on using IT and internet for clients.

Severn Wye Energy Agency
Funding will enable more, longer and  "enhanced" home visits, offering in-depth and holistic support to clients over a number of topics, including the installation of small measures.

Cwm Arian Renewable Energy 
Development of a really innovative approach of offering thermal imaging surveys to householders, to train up peer-mentors to provide the surveys and advise clients in their homes. The project will also fund tablets to be rented out to households along with training on how to use and make the best of them.

CSE's Megan Blyth said: “The Covid-19 lockdown has posed challenges for energy advice organisations supporting vulnerable clients who are digitally excluded. It’s very rewarding to see the great work organisations are doing with this funding to recover from the pandemic and develop new ways of working to effectively support vulnerable clients, in particular those who are digitally excluded.”

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