Energy advice for Burnham and Weston Energy CIC
Community-owned renewables project funds fuel poverty support
Project duration: July 2018 ongoing
We’re working together with Burnham and Weston Energy CIC and Communities for Renewables to provide a community-funded fuel poverty advice service. The service will be available to those living in the vicinity of Wick Farm, a community owned solar project in Somerset.
Wick Farm is one of the largest community solar farms in the UK, and is owned and operated by Burnham and Weston Energy CIC, a community interest company. As a community interest company, any surplus profit generated from the solar farm is reinvested back into local services for people living in the local area’s benefit. The fuel poverty advice service that we’ll offer to residents will be one of the first projects to be funded by the CIC from profits generated from the solar farm.
The service will be available to residents of Burnham and Highbridge, Weston-super-Mare and the surrounding rural communities and will offer help with:
- Home insulation including referrals to grants and advice on insulating traditional buildings.
- Heating systems - everything from how to use night storage heaters and financial support for keeping warm through to comparative advantages of air source heat pumps versus woodchip boilers.
- Behavioural change energy efficiency advice e.g. efficient use of immersion heaters, keeping warm enough and avoiding damp, condensation and mould.
- Changing tariffs, payment options and dealing with supplier disputes and fuel debt
- Income maximisation – spotting where there may be an entitlement to benefits, encouraging people to claim and referring them for further support.
We’ll do this through our Freephone energy advice line, home visits, and outreach at local events. We’ll also train volunteers to work in the area to develop the local community’s own capacity to support households in fuel poverty.
“We’re really excited to be working on this project to offer fuel poverty support. We know that our energy advice can make a substantial difference to people’s lives by helping them keep affordably warm” said Ian Preston, the project manager. “This is also an exciting project because it shows how community owned renewables can work to create more than just profit for local residents”.
The Wick Solar Farm and Burnham and Weston Energy CIC are professionally managed by Communities for Renewables, an organisation that gives professional support to communities looking to set up a local renewable energy project. Burnham and Weston Energy CIC have launched a community bond offer to fund the project going forward. You can find out more about this on their website.