Energy monitors and home energy advice
Helping fuel poor households use their OWL wisely
Project duration: November 2012 to June 2013
Western Power Distribution (WPD) is a big player in the energy sector, and manages the regional network of electricity cables for South West England, the Midlands and South Wales.
Keen to help their fuel-poor customers manage their heating costs, WPD is working in partnership with CSE to offer clip-on electricity monitors and the provision of energy saving advice to selected households across their network.
CSE’s Kate Thomas is managing the project. “What CSE brings to the table is an established route to reach a high number of fuel poor households – quickly and efficiently – and enhance the service and level of the advice that these households receive.”
Approximately 1,200 energy monitors – specifically the OWL micro+ – are expected to be distributed to households in WPD’s network which are in, or threatened by, fuel poverty.*
WPD’s ‘patch’ (the Midlands, South West England and Wales) is broader than CSE’s (Bristol and Somerset), so in order to deliver the project we’ll be working in close partnership with other not-for-profit, charitable energy agencies who provide free home energy advice to households in other parts of the WPD area.
This includes: Community Energy Plus (Cornwall and Devon); Severn Wye Energy Agency (Gloucestershire, Wiltshire and South Wales), Marches Energy Agency (Wales and West Midlands) and United Sustainable Energy Agency (East Midlands and Thames Valley). And we will also be making use of our good relations with other national bodies and networks such as Age UK, RNIB, and the Single Parent Action Network who represent different groups of people more likely to be fuel poor.
The OWL micro+ comes with step-by-step advice on the installation of the meter and on how to interpret the data to save energy and money. But most of the 1,200 will be distributed via home visits by trained energy advisors from CSE and the partner organisations listed above.
“We know that a face-to-face approach is by far the most effective way to deliver advice and that home visits are the best way to support customers in projects such as this one,” said Kate. "The energy advisor can set the OWL up, explain how it works and give the householders a quick demo. Simply shoving energy monitors through people’s letter boxes isn’t going to work: engagement is the key.”
Nevertheless we’ve produced a leaflet for householders explaining a bit more about how energy monitors can help save electricity and money and which invites those who find the instructions difficult to follow, can call our freephone number for help.
And to further support the process, a short video is being prepared and will be posted here in due course.
* The criteria for this are similar to those used by energy supplier and Government insulation grant schemes, namely the receipt of one or more of the following: Council tax benefit, Housing benefit, Income support, Income based jobseekers allowance, Employment and support allowance, Attendance allowance, Disability living allowance, Disablement pension which includes a constant attendance allowance, War disablement pension which includes a mobility supplement or a constant attendance allowance, Child tax credit (where the consumer’s relevant income is £16,040 or less), Working tax credit (where the consumer’s relevant income is £16,040 or less), State pension credit.